WASHINGTON UPDATE*

Supplements Under Attack

Be aware: The FDA and FTC may be joining forces against health freedom.

April 2011

The threat against health freedom is growing. Soon, you may lose access to the safe, natural nutritional supplements you take to promote peak well-being. Recent developments suggest that the FTC and FDA may be coordinating their attacks against health freedom, preparing a death blow that will take away your supplements forever.

A Double Standard

While supplement manufacturers are working diligently to bring cutting-edge nutritional ingredients to the public, the FDA is working to block these new ingredients from ever reaching the market. New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) guidelines created by the FDA are complex and cluttered, seemingly by design, for supplement manufacturers to navigate. As a result, some nutritional compounds with amazing potential become entangled in a bureaucratic snafu for years, never reaching consumers.
Some nutritional manufacturers—after verifying new ingredients’ safety and efficacy—simply bypass NDI and release their new products to the public without approval. These manufacturers are automatically labeled guilty by the FDA of adulterating products, and face punishment of up to one year in prison.

While supplement manufacturers must jump through hoops to use new ingredients, synthetic drug manufacturers’ Investigational Drug Appli­cations (IND) are considered by many experts to be an easy, accelerated process for approval.

This double standard appears to empower drug companies to “claim” natural compounds as pharmaceutical agents—preventing those compounds from ever appearing in nutritional supplements. Section 301(ll) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act states that a food that has been used in a pharmaceutical drug can never be sold as a nutritional supplement—unless it was sold as a nutritional supplement prior to being included in a drug formulation.

This means there is a “race for the prize” when it comes to health-promoting natural compounds. If the nutrition industry can offer a natural compound first, then it can continue selling that compound as a supplement—even if Big Pharma eventually uses the compound in a drug. But if Big Pharma uses a natural compound first, then that compound is forever banned from appearing in nutritional supplements. By making it easy for Big Pharma to monopolize these compounds, the FDA might be ripping away your health freedom and your natural right to health-promoting natural nutrition.

Nutrition is Our Right

NDIs are near impossible for dietary supplement manufacturers to achieve, while INDs are easy for Big Pharma to complete. This apparent bias could mean that as-yet-undiscovered, health-promoting natural compounds could be claimed as synthetic drugs. If this happens, some natural compounds could be taken away from consumers and given to Big Pharma.

In the hands of pharmaceutical giants, these natural compounds could be manipulated and tweaked in laboratories. The end result could be a poor synthetic imitation, only available by prescription, from a doctor, at an astronomical price…when the same active ingredient could have ended up on health food store shelves, easily accessible at an affordable price.

This scenario is realized through the FDA’s unfair double standard: It regards the supplement industry’s discovery of health-enhancing compounds with an impossibly critical set of guidelines, while it seems to give a helping hand to Big Pharma with fast, easy approval of new ingredients.

Remind your elected officials that supplements are foods, and that you will not stand for any governmental guidelines that restrict your access to safe, natural, health-promoting foods. Patronize independent natural health food stores, both to support the industry and to learn more about New Dietary Ingredients. Finally, visit www.nha2011.com to join the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA) health freedom advocacy group. For the sake of health freedom, join the NHA today!

*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).

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