Endangering Natural Resources for Production of Natural and Herbal Dietary Supplements in Virginia and Maryland

Herbal Dietary Supplements

FDA regulates dietary supplements processing, manufacture, labeling, and packaging under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which was passed in 1994 as an amendment to federal food regulations. Companies who manufacture dietary supplements are obligated to provide proof of safety of their products, and they are required to make sure label claims are truthful and non-misleading. Dietary supplements are regulated differently from conventional foods and medications by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pharmaceuticals undergo the rigorous FDA approval process before being placed on the market; medications are considered unsafe before the evidence shows they are safe.

In Australia, most supplements are regulated in a complementary medicines category that includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, aromatherapy, and homeopathic products, though some products can be considered foods with specific uses and are regulated by food authorities. This includes only products which comply with the statutory definition of a dietary supplement according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the exception of cannabis hemp products (CBD), which is explained below. Sales of herbal teas or cosmetics containing herbal ingredients are excluded. This category includes vitamins, weight loss aids, herbal products, and other pills, drinks, and powders claiming to promote a particular health benefit.

These only apply to supplements containing vitamins and/or minerals in which those products are regulated as foods, and address supplement composition, including safety, purity, and bioavailability. FDA has pursued enforcement actions against dietary supplement products for safety problems, manufacturing violations, and improper marketing or misbranding, including the use of prohibited disease claims. While structure/function claims, which describe the effect of a substance on bodily structure or function (e.g., helps improve memory), are allowed, disease claims or claims that a product can diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease (e.g., reduces pain and stiffness associated with arthritis) are prohibited on dietary supplement labels and require FDA approval and evidence to be used on the labels of approved drug products. The FDA pursues enforcement actions on dietary supplement products for safety issues, manufacturing violations, and improper marketing or misbranding, including the use of prohibited disease claims. While structure/function claims, which describe the effect a substance has on bodily structures or functions (eg, helps improve memory ), are permitted, disease claims or claims that a product can diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease (eg, reduces the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis ) are prohibited on dietary supplement labels and require FDA approval and evidence to be used on labels of approved drug products. In most cases, the FDA cannot step in and take products off shelves, the Food and Drug Administration cannot be enforced. Under DSHEA, supplement manufacturers are not required to prove safety or effectiveness; Rather, DSHEA deliberately minimizes the supervision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it emphasizes the value the industry provides to the U.S. economy.

As an standards-setting organization committed to public health, USP supports manufacturers of food additives in continuing their efforts to produce high-quality products that address the needs of consumers. Instead, the FDA has been quiet, and a leading dietary supplement industry trade group, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, has said that results strengthen the case that dietary supplements are safe products, as many consumers are unharmed by supplements. The FDA regulates the quality, safety, and labeling of dietary supplements, while the Federal Trade Commission oversees advertising and marketing; however, there are vast challenges to enforcement, and the best government oversight has yet to be achieved. Enforcement focus on companies who do not figure it out is always welcome, as long as the FDA does not get creative reinterpreting rules intended by Congress for supplement products in a way that diminishes or jeopardizes consumers access to a wide variety of health-promoting supplements.

DSHEA effectively gives the Food and Drug Administration more power over supplements, and it provides new tools for government to use in enforcement of the law tools that we hope the FDA will employ with greater frequency and determination. DSHEA is important in providing consumers reassurances that the government cannot arbitrarily limit or take away from the market herbal and nutritional products. DSHEA specifically added authority for removing products deemed unsafe.

To legally be sold in China, each food additive has to receive the CFDAs health food approval certificate, which indicates Chinas current emphasis on the safety and science-based evidence for the products function. Supplement manufacturers may also start selling or marketing supplements without FDA approval, in contrast with medicines. The U.S. Pharmacopeia Drug Stores Code of Practice also includes an associated General Chapter on Good Manufacturing Practices that manufacturers may utilize to help assure their supplements are made using safe, sanitary, and well-controlled production practices.

I believe consumers should be given access to a wide range of supplements, but they also need to have the assurance these products are safe. Researchers have found that certain supplements fail to help prevent or treat specific health problems.

Consumption of food and herbal supplements is prevalent among hospital patients, and interactions are frequently missed by physicians. In addition, concerns about safety have been raised regarding the use of regular, large-dose supplements. The form of supplements that you purchase at a health food or grocery store might be different from what is used in studies.

Natural channel consumers spent more in 2020 in the market for quercetin supplements in allergies and respiratory health, followed by cardiovascular and prostate support, according to SPINS. NbJ provides estimates for the total annual sales of herbal supplements, along with sales across the three channels of distribution (mass-market; natural, health foods, and specialty; and direct-to-consumer) and sales broken down by product type (single-herb supplements versus blends). We encourage the Agency to release a final new dietary ingredient (NDI) guidance offering protections to innovation and research; establish and clarify the legal pathway for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) as a food additive; enact a mandatory product listing providing transparency for regulators and consumers; and resolve issues regarding N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) as well as product listings providing transparency to both regulators and consumers). We urge the agency to release final New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) guidance that offers protection for innovation and research ; to establish and clarify a legal path to market for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) as a dietary supplement ; to implement a mandatory product listing that provides transparency for regulators and consumers alike ; and to address the issues around N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and other ingredients that are shared among supplements and drugs. CHPA has enjoyed positive and productive cooperation with the FDAs Office of Nutrition Supplement Programs, as well as proposals for strengthening regulatory oversight, implementing a new process for new product notifications, as well as to create additional resources to support increased inspections and review activities.