Jarrow Formulas President Questions FDA Practices

Jarrow L. Rogovin, president of dietary supplements manufacturer Jarrow Formulas, Inc., based in Los Angeles, CA, is seeking answers about some recent practices at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On March 4, Rogovin filed a Freedom of Information Act request for copies of documents (including e-mails, phone call transcripts, voicemails, meeting minutes and more) related to the February 2011 hiring of Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., for the position of director of dietary supplement programs. Rogovin is questioning the decision to hire Fabricant “in light of Dr. Fabricant’s public comments harshly condemning virtually the entire dietary supplement industry.”

Fabricant was formerly the acting executive director and CEO, and also the vice-president of scientific and regulatory affairs, for the Natural Products Association, positions that gave him access to many industry companies’ privileged information. Therefore, Rogovin believes there is a conflict of interest surrounding his holding such a senior and influential position at FDA. In the letter, Rogovin stated, “Undeniably, the offer and acceptance of his employment at FDA resulted in Dr. Fabricant not only abrogating his previous fiduciary position, but also actually violating the previous attorney–client relationship since he was present at and engaged in numerous conversations and exchanges with the NPA’s attorneys.”

Rogovin had previously voiced this concern shortly after Fabricant’s hiring in 2011, and FDA responded that Fabricant must recuse himself from any dealings involving individuals or organizations he worked with in the year before coming to FDA. Rogovin feels that this promise has not been honored, since Fabricant has repeatedly made presentations about how the NDI Draft Guidance helps resolve supposed safety risks of dietary supplements.

Rogovin also called Fabricant unnecessarily negative about and hostile toward the supplement industry in many areas. Therefore, he is requesting any documents related to Fabricant’s role in suggesting and preparing a March 2012 Dateline broadcast on “dry labbing,” which vilified the entire supplements industry; his evidence for negative quotes given to Chicago Tribune in 2012 and to National Public Radio and The New York Times in 2013; and proof of industry’s non-compliance with regulations as suggested by Fabricant during SupplySide West 2013.

All told, there are 90 requests.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2014