Oxford conference to broaden scope in recognition of 20th anniversary of DSHEA

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Ikhlas Khan, PhD
Dr Ikhlas Khan, PhD
The upcoming Oxford Conferenece on the Science of Botanicals will have broader scope this year as part of a retrospective on the 20th anniversary of the Dietary Supplement Health and Eduction Act, said Ikhlas Khan, PhD, one of the conference’s main organizers.

Khan, a professor of pharmacy at the University of Mississippi (located in Oxford) and assistant director of the National Center for Natural Products Research, said in this anniversary year of DSHEA the goal has been to broaden the reach of the conference, which in the past has tended to be a top-level meeting between industry stakeholders and FDA officials.

“We had the leaders of the trade organizations at the meeting, but we didn’t have their members coming to the meeting,”​ Khan told NutraIngredients-USA. “Since it is a special occasion we decided to have a meeting that would have an industry focus,”​ as opposed to past meetings where sessions delved into the fine details of the latest science on botanical ingredients.

“We decided we had to show that the science that is being done has to be related to industry because they are the ones that are going to benefit from it,”​ he said.

Nonthreatening atmosphere

The conference has been known as a place where industry leaders and FDA officials can meet on an equal footing and exchange ideas in a non-threatening atmosphere.  With the release of the draft New Dietary Ingredients guidance and issues surrounding the enforcement of GMP regulations, recent open meetings between FDA officials and industry have sometimes been tense affairs.  The Oxford conference has offered a venue free from those tensions.

“The ICSB has transitioned into the most important regulatory gathering for the dietarary supplement industry in the US.  FDA leadership, academic leadership and industry executives meet for three days to consider the state of dietary supplement regulation, policy and areas of concern or opportunity,”​ said Loren Israelsen, president of the United Natural Products Alliance. “Nowhere else does this happen in this way.  It is vital that such a forum exist, and the Natural Center for Natural Products Research at Ole Miss is that forum.”

Isrealsen is one of the invited speakers, as is Mark Blumenthal of the American Botanical Council and Maged Sharaf, chief scientific officer of the American Herbal Products Association.  From the regulatory side, Daniel Fabricant, PhD, head of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplements and Angela Pope, PhD, of FDA will be in attendance. Joseph Betz, PhD, of the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health will also attend.

Session topics will include “Two Perspectives on the Safety, Science & Quality of Botanicals 20 Years after DSHEA,” “Creating a Corporate Culture of Compliance” and “Collaborations for Safety, Post-Market Surveillance and Regulatory Reporting.”

The conference will be held April 15 through 17 at the Hampton Inn Conference Center in Oxford, MS.  Preregistration discounts are still available.  For more information on the agenda or to register, click here​.

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