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NPA: We need more cops, not laws

By Shane Starling , 03-Dec-2009

Responding to a call from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for greater regulation of the dietary supplements industry, trade groups have defended the legal status quo – fingering a lack of policing for a rise in contamination problems from “rogue” players.

The two major dietary supplements trade groups in the US – the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Natural Products Association (NPA) – welcomed the attack on unscrupulous players, but warned amending or scrapping the Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act (DSHEA) was not necessarily the answer.

Simply putting more laws on the books for the bad guys to continue to ignore is not the answer,” said John Gay, the executive Director and chief executive officer of the Natural Products Association (NPA).

“When laws are being broken, as they are in this case, the solution is to put more cops on the street by increasing the resources available to federal regulators to allow them to fully – and effectively – enforce the existing laws. Boosting enforcement also proves a quicker way to get rogue companies out of the marketplace versus the much longer process of trying to pass new legislation and write new regulations that still may not be enforced.”

CRN president and CEO, Steve Mister, commended the USADA executive director, Travis Tygart, as well as Major League Baseball and the National Football League, for stepping forward against, “drug products labeled as dietary supplements”.

Like NPA, CRN backed DSHEA as being “more than adequate” if enforced, but agreed with USADA on some amendments such as new dietary ingredient (NDI) notification processes and more stringent GMP inspections.

Education efforts to remind consumers about hazards with products such as body building that may be contaminated with steroids could be effective, CRN said.

“This kind of criminal activity is dangerous to consumers and also negatively impacts the overwhelming majority of dietary supplement companies that are committed to following the laws. We strongly encourage regulatory agencies to continue to take the enforcement actions available to them under the law, including criminal sanctions, against these companies.”

CRN said it looked forward to working with USADA and other groups where it could to drive the USADA’s new consumer education and grassroots campaign, ‘Supplement Safety Now.’

“We further appreciate Mr. Tygart’s clarifications that marketers of anabolic steroids are already breaking the law,” he said.

NPA reiterated that most products on the market were safe and used regularly by more than 150m Americans.

“Even though the vast majority of manufacturers are playing by the rules, there are bad actors who are endangering the public, and tarnishing the industry.”

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