FTC Censorship Of Natural Supplements Must End
There is an ongoing battle between advocates of vitamins and supplements as a safe and natural way to complement a diet and enhance health vs. vested interests such as drug companies, chemical manufacturers and their army of lobbyists who seek to limit the availability of nutritional products.
In a similar vein, and despite the recommendations of the President’s Cancer Panel, not everyone agrees that organic food is beneficial to avoid the pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and other poisons being used. (ref: 2008-2009 President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now, section: What Individuals Can Do: Recommendations.)
Whatever the stance on these issues, the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) may not be playing the game by the rules.
In addition to violating the rights of manufacturers to tell the public about their products as guaranteed by the First Amendment, FTC censorship also ignores the law of the land regarding the need for and availability of these products.
The law of the land is the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
Its stated purpose: “To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish standards with respect to dietary supplements, and for other purposes.”
The preamble to the statute states:
“1) improving the health status of United States citizens ranks at the top of the national priorities of the Federal Government;
“(2) the importance of nutrition and the benefits of dietary supplements to health promotion and disease prevention have been documented increasingly in scientific studies;
“(3)(A) there is a link between the ingestion of certain nutrients or dietary supplements and the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis; and
“(B) clinical research has shown that several chronic diseases can be prevented simply with a healthful diet, such as a diet that is low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, with a high proportion of plant-based foods;
“(4) healthful diets may mitigate the need for expensive medical procedures, such as coronary bypass surgery or angioplasty;
“(5) preventive health measures, including education, good nutrition, and appropriate use of safe nutritional supplements will limit the incidence of chronic diseases, and reduce long-term health care expenditures;
“(6)(A) promotion of good health and healthy lifestyles improves and extends lives while reducing health care expenditures; and
“(B) reduction in health care expenditures is of paramount importance to the future of the country and the economic well-being of the country;
“(7) there is a growing need for emphasis on the dissemination of information linking nutrition and long-term good health;
“(8) consumers should be empowered to make choices about preventive health care programs based on data from scientific studies of health benefits related to particular dietary supplements;
“(9) national surveys have revealed that almost 50 percent of the 260,000,000 Americans regularly consume dietary supplements of vitamins, minerals, or herbs as a means of improving their nutrition;
“(10) studies indicate that consumers are placing increased reliance on the use of nontraditional health care providers to avoid the excessive costs of traditional medical services and to obtain more holistic consideration of their needs;
“(11) the United States will spend over $1,000,000,000,000 on health care in 1994, which is about 12 percent of the Gross National Product of the United States, and this amount and percentage will continue to increase unless significant efforts are undertaken to reverse the increase;
“(12)(A) the nutritional supplement industry is an integral part of the economy of the United States;
“(B) the industry consistently projects a positive trade balance; and
“(C) the estimated 600 dietary supplement manufacturers in the United States produce approximately 4,000 products, with total annual sales of such products alone reaching at least $4,000,000,000;
“(13) although the Federal Government should take swift action against products that are unsafe or adulterated, the Federal Government should not take any actions to impose unreasonable regulatory barriers limiting or slowing the flow of safe products and accurate information to consumers;
“(14) dietary supplements are safe within a broad range of intake, and safety problems with the supplements are relatively rare; and
“(15)(A) legislative action that protects the right of access of consumers to safe dietary supplements is necessary in order to promote wellness; and
“(B) a rational Federal framework must be established to supersede the current ad hoc, patchwork regulatory policy on dietary supplements.”
This is an amazing piece of legislation. We believe that the FTC and FDA are not in compliance with this statute and in fact make it very difficult for manufacturers and sellers of vitamins and supplements to service the American people.
It would be a sad day if the FTC is allowed to completely circumvent the DSHEA law passed by Congress that bestows these basic protections for vitamin and supplement manufacturers and recognizes the need for such nutritional products.
The FTC censorship of vitamins and supplements must not be tolerated. It is a basic right of Americans to let the public know about these products and for consumers to freely purchase them. This is further established in the DSHEA statute.
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