CRN eager to open industry-healthcare talks

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Supplements, Flexible spending account, Crn, Steve mister

In an effort to get government and healthcare agencies to recognize
the health benefits of dietary supplements, the Council for
Responsible Nutrition is planning to open dialogue between industry
and healthcare practitioners.

As part of a series of announcements at the trade association's Annual Symposium on Dietary Supplements, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) revealed it intends to organize discussions with healthcare practitioners - a category that includes doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, dieticians and pharmacists.

The rationale behind getting further recognition for dietary supplements is to give the public more trust in these products and to lead to the inclusion of these products in certain government programs.

"They have the potential to drive consumers out of the market,"​ CRN president and CEO Steve Mister told on the subject of healthcare practitioners. Further details of CRN's plans are not available at the present time.

The supplement industry may have reason to fear consumers are in a position to be swayed away from taking their product if they do not get the healthcare community on board.

The results of a recent survey indicate that while the number of Americans taking supplements appears to be staying steady, consumer confidence in these products is declining. The CRN-funded Ipsos-Public Affairs survey found consumption has remained close to 65 percent since 2003, despite the fact public confidence in the safety and effectiveness of supplements has dipped from 78 percent in 2003 to 69 percent this year.

CRN's goal is to find out where the public is getting their information on supplements so as to smooth out the gaps in communication that may exist.

"We need doctors to be more open,"​ said Mister, referring to research showing patients frequently do not inform their doctor what supplements they are taking.

"For almost two-thirds of American adults, we are part of a culture of wellness,"​ Mister said in a speech at CRN's recent conference. "And so the choice to focus some of our public messages on mainstream healthcare practitioners is inescapable as well."

Part of the rationale behind this potential dialogue is to get patients to discuss their patterns and habits more with their doctors.

"When healthcare practitioners know more about these products, patients will open up and tell their doctors about what they are taking,"​ said Mister.

This would also ensure safer use of supplements or herbal products, according to Mister.

Another long-term outcome the CRN hopes for out of an organized communication initiative is to have supplements included in government administered flexible spending accounts and healthcare savings accounts.

In his speech in Boston, Mister called for the inclusion of supplements in the Older Americans Act so seniors can get a multivitamin along with their meal at a senior center. He also spoke of paving the way for talks with medical insurance programs to promote supplements and reduce healthcare costs.

"Nothing has been announced yet,"​ Mister said when asked about the details of CRN plans for such a dialogue.

Related topics: Suppliers

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