Bob Ullman December 26, 1933 – August 16, 2015

Industry mourns loss of ‘true pioneer’ Bob Ullman


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Bob Ullman (right) with his son, Marc (left) in 2005
Bob Ullman (right) with his son, Marc (left) in 2005

Related tags Dietary supplement

Tributes pour in for legendary industry attorney Bob Ullman, who died in an accident with his wife Joan on August 16, 2015.

A seasoned litigator with 45 years’ experience practicing law in the dietary supplements industry, Bob was awarded the President’s Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association (now the Natural Products Association) in recognition of his contributions in 2005.

“Bob Ullman was a true pioneer when it came to representing the industry,”​ said Dr. Daniel Fabricant, NPA Executive Director and CEO. “His and Milt Bass' work on so many landmark cases as NPA's attorneys still reverberates through all that we do defending the industry on the regulatory, judicial and legislative fronts. In addition to the wonderful work he did, those who knew Bob knew him as dedicated husband, father and friend. He will be sorely missed.”

“Bob’s contributions to the natural products and dietary supplement industries cannot be overstated,”​ said Michael McGuffin, President of the American Herbal Products Association. “The benefits to consumers and much of the success that companies in these markets enjoy today can be attributed to his efforts.

"Bob’s legacy will always be seen in the access enjoyed today to a wide array of products that promote health and well-being and in the prosperity of these industries.”

Bob Ullman, who was born in Frankfurt Germany on December 26, 1933, graduated from New York University, BS, magna cum laude, in 1955. He was a member of The Law Review at New York University School of Law, from which he graduated with honors in 1961. Upon graduation he joined the firm of Bass and Friend, which evolved into Bass and Ullman in 1969. Thirty years later when Bass and Ullman dissolved, Bob formed Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, LLP with his son Marc Ullman and colleague Steve Shapiro.

Bob was noted as much for his day-to-day defense of industry interests as well as for his involvement in pivotal vitamin hearings before Congress and related lawsuits against FDA in the 1970’s. These included the legendary Vitamins A and D case, in which the FDA attempted to categorize high dose vitamins as drugs, as well as other precedent setting cases that have helped protect consumer access to dietary supplements.

In the mid 1990’s he handled the landmark FTC case defending calcium’s bone building properties on behalf of Metagenics.

He was also lead counsel in the Traco and Oakmont Black Currant oil cases which effectively ended FDA's attempt to regulate dietary supplements as food additives and which were cited by Senator Hatch as one of the justifications for his introduction of DSHEA. He also tried a number of important US Postal and FTC advertising cases involving dietary supplements and direct marketing. 

“My father literally dedicated his life to defending this industry, and inspired us all by the passion he brought to defending his clients and the indsutry,”​ said son and partner Marc Ullman. 

Contributions in honor of Bob and Joan Ullman may be made to the Alzheimer’s Assciation at

Please feel free to leave your own tributes in the comments section below. 

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1 comment


Posted by Bruce Skop,

I have known and have retained Bob spanning 30 years. He was the straightest shooter and "can do" attorney I ever had the privilege to work with. As a kid entrepreneur in the natural products industry, Bob got me out of dopey, naïve mistakes I had made with expedience, grace and always a few shared laughs. Bob was a pioneer of the natural products industry and will be missed. Please accept my sympathies to the Ullman family.

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