Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010

So far in 2010, the anti-vaccination movement has suffered a terrible blow in the discrediting of Andrew Wakefield's faudulent autism claims and homeopathy has been defined as nothing more than a placebo by the United Kingdom's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, which will probably result in homeopathic remideies no longer being funded by the UK's National Health System.  So barely two full months into 2010 and we already have some victories for evidence based reason over woo.

What will be next?  It is possible that the $24 billion dietary supplement industry is going to be on the defensive soon.  There is a bill being proposed in the United States Senate that will place the supplement and vitamin industry under the supervision of the US Food and Drug Administration in order to sell their products here.

Link to S. 3002

What this will mean is that these products will be treated as food additives and/or drugs which will subject them to much tighter rules and restrictions under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.  In order to market these products legally in America, any adverse side effects must be disclosed to the FDA, any beneficial claims must substantiated, and each product will be subject to potential recall as determined by the FDA.

The Senate is very busy right now debating various economic plans, budgets, and of course health care.  So it is unlikely that this bill will get much public scrutiny anytime soon.  But it has at least been submitted and you might be surprised to learn by whom.  The Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 was submitted by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and North Dakota Democrat Senator Byron Dorgan.

That's right folks.  A Republican is leading an arguably skeptical, pro-science charge against the woefully unregulated supplement industry.  Moreover this Senate bill is bipartisan in nature, having been coauthored by a Democrat.  This is gearing up to be an interesting year and I, for one, would like to extend my thanks to both Senator McCain and Senator Dorgan.

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