Victory! Blumenthal/Durbin’s amendments to limit military access to supplements fail to make final bill

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: © iStockPhoto/Maksym Dragunov
Photo credit: © iStockPhoto/Maksym Dragunov

Related tags Dietary supplements Dietary supplement Dr fabricant

Amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act to limit military access to dietary supplements will not be included in the final bill after failing to make it to the floor vote, NutraIngredients-USA has learned.

On June 3, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) filed three amendments (S.A. 1560, 1561 & 1562) to the Department of Defense 2016 spending bill calling for the tracking of adverse events regarding dietary supplements use by military personnel, tracking the use of dietary supplements by military personnel, and limiting the sale of dietary supplements in commissary and exchange stores.

The amendments were three of about 175 added to a huge amendment by Senator John McCain, but they failed to make the final bill.

CRN: ‘We credit this victory to all five trade associations working together’

The dietary supplements industry was quick to rally against the amendments and is claiming victory in this battle. Mike Greene, VP of government relations at the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said: “We’ve been on the Hill every day for the last two weeks or so – in fact this week we had about 75 CRN member company executives here for our Day on the Hill​ – talking with legislative offices about why these amendments were problematic, specifically because they were duplicative and didn’t solve the problems we need solved.

“Instead they added inappropriate burdens and would have prevented reasonable access to supplements to those in the military. 

“We know the amendments could be brought up at a later date, and CRN intends to continue building our relationships on the Hill, including keeping the lines of discussion open with Senators Blumenthal and Durbin, and making the case for getting illegal supplements off the market without interfering with the use and sale of legitimate dietary supplements,” ​added Greene. 

“But for now, we credit this victory to all five trade associations working together to make sure that military access to supplements was not hindered. We’ll also continue to work closely with our colleagues at the other trades to protect the industry and its consumers.”

Big win for the grassroots

Daniel Fabricant, PhD, CEO and Executive Director of the Natural Products Association called the result a "Big win for the grassroots.

"Between our site which sent over 20,000 emails and ANH which sent about 15,000, I believe it shows we still have some fairly sharp teeth there and how important that is," ​Dr Fabricant told us. "However, people need to stay frosty as we learned there will be other challenges coming our way and coming soon, so all in the industry and those who support the industry need to keep the cards and letters coming and get involved in other ways like giving to candidates and PACs, that's how we keep winning."

The NPA also provided a list of talking points to explain why people should oppose the amendments on the SOS site. To read those talking points, please click HERE​.


SA 1560 called for the military health system to record dietary supplement adverse events, to generate standard reports on adverse event data that can be aggregated for analysis, and to issue automated alerts to signal a significant change in adverse event reporting or to signal a risk of interaction with a medication or other treatment.

SA 1561 would have modified the electronic health record system of the military health system to include data on dietary supplement use by members of the Armed Forces.

SA 1562 would have required dietary supplements sold by a retail establishment operating on a military installation to

1. Be verified by an independent third party for recognized public standards of identity, purity, strength, and composition, and adherence to related process standards; or

2. Comply with Defense Commissary Agency policy on inventory carried by commissaries.

The amendment would have directed the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to identify the third parties that may provide verification.

Related topics Regulation

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