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Supplement defender Harkin takes US health chair

By Lorraine Heller , 10-Sep-2009

Long-time friend of the supplements industry Senator Tom Harkin will replace the late Edward Kennedy as head of the US Senate health committee.

Iowa Democratic Senator Harkin was yesterday named chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), which is key to the passage of health care reform.

A champion of the supplements industry, Harkin has remained a primary defender of the much-criticized Dietary Supplements and Health Education Act (DSHEA).

Prevention in health

According to Daniel Fabricant, acting CEO of the supplements trade group Natural Products Association (NPA), the Senator has always “looked at” prevention in health.

“The Senator has always looked at matters related to health very progressively, from working to ensure that FDA has the proper funds to conduct enforcement activities to looking towards complementary, integrative, preventive and alternative forms of health care which sometimes includes supplements, to improve the nation's health,” he told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

Affordable healthcare

Harkin replaces Senator Kennedy, who died August 25 of brain cancer.

In a statement issued on his succession to the HELP committee, Harkin said he will continue endeavors to ensure affordable healthcare for all Americans.

“I expect to work closely with Senator Dodd, who has guided the HELP Committee so capably in reporting The Affordable Health Choice Act, and who will continue to play a leading role as health care legislation moves to the Senate floor,” he said.