Attendees to the 20th Annual Natural Products Day (NPD) in Washington, DC on March 21st and 22nd met with over 100 members of Congress and staff to educate them on the industry’s issues and natural products’ roles in preventive health care and overall wellness. Attendees included retailers, suppliers, distributors and other industry consultant members.
Members of the Natural Products Association (NPA) discussed important issues for the natural products industry with lawmakers and their staff, including:
• Inclusion of dietary supplement in HSA/FSA;
• Inclusion of multivitamins in Women, Infant Children (WIC) program;
• regulation of new dietary ingredients;
• Federal Trade Commission (FTC) overreach; and
• developing a definition for ‘medical foods’.
“The NPA has readymade solutions to grow the economy and make valuable contributions to Americans’ health,” said Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of NPA. “Dietary supplements and natural products are used by more than half of all Americans to promote their health. Our members including many small business owners are part of an industry that contributes billions of dollars each year and thousands of American jobs to the economy.
Informing elected officials
NPD advocacy training was kicked off with Derek Harley, Chief of Staff for Rep. Brad Wenstrup, and Stuart Portman, Legislative Aide for Senator Orrin Hatch. The training session gave attendees an outline on how to best inform their elected officials. The advocacy training prepared attendees for a successful lobby day, providing the necessary tools to build strong relationships with their lawmakers.
Attendees met directly with lawmakers and congressional staff from their districts and states to educate them on the natural products industry and current issues. During these meetings, attendees shared position papers provided by NPA to make certain offices were fully informed on the current issues in the industry, and on the health and economic benefits of natural products.
The day on Capitol Hill concluded with a Congressional reception held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, where long-time industry champion, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stopped by to address the attendees.
“It’s the one day that can have the biggest effect on your business,” Dr Fabricant told us. “You can find the greatest product in the world at Expo and it can increase your sales by 20% but in one day Congress can take away your business, so which is your greater return on investment?”
In previous years, the association has talked about greater enforcement of dietary supplement regulations and more funding to the FDA to increase inspections and enforcement, but that topic didn’t come up this year, he said, given the lack of clarity around budgets.
“We want FDA to be appropriately funded but nothing is clear on that at the moment,” he said.
The event also included a reception hosted by the NPA Political Action Committee (NPA PAC), which was attended by over 75 NPA members.