Latest Research on Natural and Dietary Supplements Law in Virginia

To further support public health objectives of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), FDA has also issued guidance documents that provide nonbinding recommendations to assist industry in understanding and implementing all regulations and laws. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)–the 1994 act that established the current regulatory framework for dietary supplements–the FDA does not typically perform premarket reviews of dietary supplements, nor are manufacturers required to submit essential information about their products, including names or ingredients, to the agency prior to marketing.20 This leaves the agency without a clear picture of what is available in the marketplace at any given time. Dietary and herbal supplement companies are responsible for evaluating their products for safety and labeling purposes on their own before marketing, in order to make sure that they are compliant with all requirements of the DSHEA.

As the standards-setting organization committed to public health, the U.S. Pharmacopeia supports the manufacturers of dietary supplements in continuing their efforts to produce quality products to meet the needs of consumers. Experts suggest efforts are needed from both the FDA and the industry to improve manufacturers knowledge of Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) regulations and quality standards, including quality control specifications regarding the identity, purity, strength, and composition of finished dietary supplements, and of their ingredients. Enforcement focus on companies who do not understand these is always welcome, as long as the FDA does not get creative in reinterpreting rules intended by Congress for supplement products in a way that reduces or jeopardizes consumers access to a wide variety of health-promoting supplements.

Natural and Dietary Supplements

Under the existing law, FDA may act only when it finds that supplement manufacturers made unlawful claims about their products or broke the rules governing product labeling. Instead, the FDA indicates, any chemical that was not sold as a food before new supplements laws were passed in 1994 should be considered a novel ingredient, and the company would be required under the Act to submit notice to the FDA about its sales as a supplement. The underlying framework of DSHEA allowed any products that were sold as dietary supplements at the time of enactment of the act to remain on the market, except where FDA may have shown a safety issue in the specific product or product line–this is what is called a grandfather clause; manufacturers are required to notify the FDA prior to marketing of any new ingredients.

In addition, manufacturers were not required to submit proof of the products safety to the FDA prior to marketing the dietary supplement, except that the supplement contained a novel dietary ingredient (a dietary ingredient not sold in this country before Oct. 15, 1994) that had not been introduced into the food supply as a food in a form where food has been used as an article used in food, such that it was present in the food in a food product. Dietary supplements may include generic health claims, claims about the nutrient content, or statements about the structure-function. Some scientific verifications are required to be submitted to the FDA for health claims only, that demonstrate a direct relationship between use of dietary supplements and reduced disease risk. In some cases, when herbal supplements have been tested, it has been found that very few, if any, of the listed ingredients are present.

Most pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of herbal supplements have not investigated the possibility of drug interactions, so the risks of taking supplements with other medications are largely unknown. Consumption of food and herbal supplements is prevalent among inpatients in hospitals, and interactions are frequently missed by physicians. Studies have shown that almost two out of three service members consume some type of daily dietary or herbal supplement.

In Australia, most food supplements are regulated in a complementary medicines category, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, aromatherapy, and homeopathic products, though some products can be considered foods with specific uses, and are regulated by food authorities. These only apply to supplements that contain vitamins and/or minerals, in those cases in which those products are regulated as foods, and address supplement composition, including its safety, purity, and bioavailability. In the U.S., supplement safety is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but legal limitations have prevented FDA from effectively regulating dietary supplements (e.g. This has increased risks for public health, which has led to many calls for reform.

Monitoring Safety The main mechanism to monitor the safety of supplements is the voluntary reporting system established by FDAs Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, called the Centers for Food Safety and Applied Nutritions (CAERS) Supplement E-Reporting System. Under DSHEA, supplement manufacturers are not required to prove safety or effectiveness; Rather, the DSHEA deliberately minimizes the supervision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and emphasizes the value of the industry to the U.S. economy.

At the same time, we give FDA a comprehensive set of enforcement mechanisms for acting on unsafe or misbranded supplements, including seizures, injunctions, civil monetary penalties, and even criminal penalties. The popularity of safe food additives and concern about regulating them is what led to passage of Act IT in 1994, the legislation Senator Harkin and I were proud to co-author along with New Mexicos current governor, Bill Richardson.

Star officials called Anatabloc a nutritional supplement with anti-inflammatory properties that does not need FDA approval, since its key chemicals are found in foods like eggplants and potatoes. In a regulatory alert on Tuesday, the agency said Star is making claims about its Anatabloc supplement that would require the product to receive approval as a medicine. Some companies are failing to abide by FDA rules on making claims and properly labeling supplements.