Washington, D.C.—On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 five dietary supplement trade associations endorsed a letter to Congress in support of Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell’s request to elevate the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs (DDSP) to an “Office” status within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
If accomplished, this move would raise the profile of dietary supplements within FDA and could result in direct lines of communication with industry, additional regulatory authority and more funding.
The United Natural Products Alliance, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the American Herbal Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition and the Natural Products Association all signed the letter.
“Since DDSP was established within FDA, shortly after the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the dietary supplements industry has grown from around $6 billion in annual sales to more than $35 billion in sales in 2014,” wrote the associations' presidents and CEOs in the joint letter.
“This robust growth of the industry reflects not only increased interest among consumers in these products, but also significant advancements in the science of nutrition and wellness and new regulatory challenges to appropriately monitor this marketplace.”
Mike Greene, vice president of government relations at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, stated during a phone interview that the endorsement for an “office” status is not a reaction to any negative media attention that the dietary industry is currently facing. Instead, it is a strategic move and something that the industry has supported for quite some time.
“All of the trade association executives have been talking about it (an elevation to “office” status), probably for the last two and a half to three years,” Greene said while adding, that once the trade associations learned of the HHS request for the administrative restructuring underneath the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), they immediately endorsed a letter to Congress to ensure members knew that the industry was behind it 100%.
With an elevation, to “Office” status, the DDSP hopes to “enhance the effectiveness of dietary supplement regulation by being able to better compete for resources and attention, with other products under the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition jurisdiction.”
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2016, Online 12/4/2015