Trade bodies representing the supplements industry have released a flurry of statements this week in response to a Congressional subcommittee hearing on hidden steroids.
Industry is eager to avoid the implementation of a pre-market approval system for supplements – an idea that hearing chairman Senator Arlen Specter mooted last week.
Instead, supplement trade bodies have this week called for tougher enforcement policies and more resources for the FDA to get illegal steroid products off supplement shelves.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has written a letter to the FDA urging the regulator to adapt its enforcement tactics for fraudulent H1N1 (swine flu) to steroids in supplements.
AHPA is concerned that the FDA testimony gave the impression that it is unable to take effective enforcement action. Michael McGuffin, AHPA’s president, disagrees and suggests the FDA adapts its successful swine flu strategy.
Specifically this would entail:
(1) Searching the Internet for marketed products labeled as containing synthetic steroid products.
(2) Sending a warning letter to any company found to be marketing such product, the content of which should depend on the specific synthetic steroid ingredients described in the label, labeling or advertising of the product and the claims made for the product
(3) Prominently place on FDA’s website a web page that lists products that the agency has identified as containing synthetic steroids and that have been the subject of warning letters.
Both the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Natural Products Association (NPA) have also released statements this week in reaction to the senate hearing. The trade associations call for better enforcement from the FDA and support calls more resources to make that possible. But neither supports further regulation to protect consumers from illegal steroids.
Talking to NutraIngredients-USA.com Dan Fabricant, PhD, acting executive director of the NPA, said a pre-market approval system would not improve the situation because criminals would find a way around it. Fabricant said tough enforcement is the only real deterrent.