CRN exploring development of registry of dietary supplements

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto / monticelllo
Image © iStockPhoto / monticelllo

Related tags: Dietary supplements, Want

The Board of the Council for Responsible Nutrition has adopted the proposal to move forward with a registry of dietary supplements, which could be a relatively quick process if an existing database can be ‘massaged’ to fit the criteria.

The organization held a Board meeting immediately following a Town Hall meeting at its annual conference, and approved in concept a Voluntary Product Registry for Dietary Supplements. The next step is to further investigate various options for establishing the product registry from both existing databases (such as the ODS database and Underwriters Laboratories’ Clearview program) and the possibility of creating a new platform.

“This could be a relatively quick process if we find we can work with an existing database,” ​Steve Mister, CRN’s President and CEO, told us.

Next steps

The next stage in the process is for the CRN staff to present a these different models at the organization’s board meeting in December, said Mister.

“The primary goal of a voluntary product registry for dietary supplements would be to give the regulators more visibility so they can see which products are out there, who is marketing them, the content of their labels, the ingredients they’re using, and so on,” ​said Mister.

“We want consumer to also be able to see this but that’s not the primary target,”​ he added. “For consumers, there would need to be a significant marketing and education effort and we’re not there yet.

“I would urge industry stakeholders to call us,” ​said Mister. “We want to hear from all members of the industry. I hope that I would allay any anxieties they may have. This is the type of basic information that many companies are already providing to retailers, and we’re not asking companies to do anything burdensome. This would put it all in one place so that the regulators can search it.”

Working Group

CRN convened a Product Transparency Working Group to provide a framework for the product information that would be included in this registry. 

“The Board’s decision to move CRN toward an industry-directed product database of dietary supplements follows nearly a year of discussions and investigations by the Board into a viable system of providing more visibility for regulators into the size of the industry and basic information about products,”​ said Mister. 

During his president’s address at CRN’s annual meeting in Palm Springs recently, Mister called on members to support the registry, saying there are moments that demand change: “If we ignore the signs, we risk becoming irrelevant. If we wait too long, we will get left behind. If we consider ourselves impervious, we may get blindsided by our vulnerabilities.”

Mister also acknowledged to The Conference’s attendees that some will say the system is unnecessary, while others will insist it doesn’t go far enough to ensure quality, but called on CRN’s membership to ‘do now what we have consensus to do now and keep working on refining the rest’.

“I firmly believe CRN is uniquely positioned to lead the industry toward developing measures to improve quality and build consumer trust,” ​he said. “And this database of product information is the first step in that process.”

Mister said that CRN alerted the other trade associations prior to the conference because it wants to cast as broad net with this. [Scott Melville from CHPA and Michael McGuffin from AHPA were present at The Conference.]

Have your say

What do you think about the proposed Voluntary Product Registry for Dietary Supplements? Please share your thought in the comments section below. 

Related topics: Regulation, GMPs, QA & QC

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2 comments

Re: "Voluntary"...says it all.

Posted by Steve Mister, president/CEO, CRN,

BP, thanks for your comment. We view this process as a first step, as a way to get started. By starting with a voluntary label database, it gives the industry an opportunity to test out the process, and work with FDA to figure out the necessary pieces, what works best, what doesn’t, before going to the next step which would mean getting Congress to pass a law. This is similar to how we handled Serious Adverse Event Reporting. But the intent is to test the waters, and then, when the timing is right, work with Congress to make it mandatory. Our membership is comprised of large companies, but also medium, and some small companies—and yes our companies generally don’t get Warning Letters, but they are impacted by those who do. So we have a big stake in this issue. We’re moving it forward and welcome others to join in the conversation and the process.

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"Voluntary"...says it all.

Posted by BP,

Unless it's legally mandated...it will be of limited use and value. And recreating the wheel - as mentioned, ODS database already exists - that's an un-stellar use of time. Isn't CRN comprised primarily of the large(r) companies that don't get Warning Letters? Truly, what use is a voluntary list of those products, then? Unless it's all for show so you can make noise about "the responsible industry"...which is just noise.

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