Guest Article: Supporting Broad-Spectrum Self-Care through a Consumer-Driven Mindset

© MoMo Productions / Getty Images
© MoMo Productions / Getty Images

Related tags CHPA Dietary supplements Larisa Pavlick Duffy mackay

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly three years ago, we’ve seen the self-care industry rapidly evolve from an emphasis on treatment to an emphasis on prevention.

Instead of being limited to just treating symptoms, self-care has shifted into a broader landscape encompassing wellness, sleep, stress balance, nutrition, and exercise, as consumers continue to take greater responsibility for, and control over, the way they approach their health and well-being.

As dietary supplements have become a mainstream part of self-care in the U.S., the industry itself has experienced record-breaking growth, with consumers turning to supplements more than ever to address nutritional gaps and promote their overall wellness.

That’s also why the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) has accelerated our strategic advocacy for dietary supplements, an increasingly critical part of personal healthcare.

Building Out a Broad-Spectrum Infrastructure

Not only have we seen the self-care industry adapt to the rapidly and everchanging healthcare landscape, but so has CHPA, both internally through the infrastructure of our organization; and externally, by consistently remaining agile, aware of industry needs, and engaged with stakeholders to effectively represent our members’ best interests.

This has allowed us to actively continue increasing CHPA’s presence, while also bringing together FDA and industry leaders to discuss key topics that impact dietary supplement stakeholders.

Over the course of this year, CHPA has engaged FDA leaders from offices that impact dietary supplement regulatory oversight and worked with industry colleagues on self-regulatory initiatives. For example, Cara Welch, from FDA’s Office of Dietary Supplements joined a panel of FDA leaders to discuss agency priorities at the CHPA’s 2022 Regulatory, Scientific, and Quality (RSQ) conference in Bethesda, MD.

Additionally, CHPA moderated a panel on harmonizing retailer product testing requirements for dietary supplements at the Global Retailer Manufacturers Alliance’s 2022 Summit; hosted the 2022 Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit in Washington, DC that included several FDA speakers; sponsored the Nutrition Business Journal Summit luncheon; and presented at the Supply Side West Expo in Las Vegas. We’ve also launched a revitalized Quality and Manufacturing Committee to better connect with our members on quality standards.

Companies Are Seeking a “One Stop Shop”

Companies have also evolved. And as they do, they tend to be grabbing on to more than one category of consumer products and leaning into associations that offer those services.

When it comes to dietary supplements, over-the-counter medicines (OTCs), and medical devices, consumers broadly think of these products as items used to support their overall health and wellness, as opposed to compartmentalizing them into very distinct categories as an industry executive might do.

Having member companies with significant footprints across each of these categories, who also understand where the future of self-care is headed, is beneficial when working to harness messaging that helps consumers strengthen their knowledge about dietary supplements as part of an overall, integrated self-care plan.

As we’ve continued building out a robust team this year, with an extensive and unique skill set, we’ve also welcomed new pure play supplement member companies, while engaging with other potential new members seeking an association like CHPA to support their evolving self-care priorities.

Consumer Driven

Since CHPA is the only trade association serving the broad-spectrum self-care sector in OTC medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices, we’re incredibly committed to maintaining a consumer-first mindset across all our priorities and helping our members succeed during these changing times through pragmatic policy approaches and long-term regulatory improvements to benefit both consumers and industry.

Increased Need for Modernized Framework

Of course, with rapid change and growth, comes increased risk and new challenges. As the supplement industry continues to grow in the 28 years since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), legislative reform has not kept pace with growth, allowing bad actors to enter the market.

As more consumers turn to preventative healthcare, incorporating dietary supplements into their overall self-care plans, CHPA recognizes that enhanced safety, product integrity, and industry transparency are the key tenets to building trust in supplements. Understanding that trust is paramount to consumers, CHPA will continue taking a consumer-focused approach to this issue as well, by ensuring that reforms are not simply reform in name only. We must deliver comprehensive reforms that meet the high safety and quality standards consumers deserve and expect if industry is going to be successful for another 30 years.

While CHPA appreciates the attention given to dietary supplement reform this year, there is undoubtedly still more work to be done to appropriately balance consumer access with FDA oversight through reforms like Mandatory Product Listing, increased cGMP inspections, and Remote Regulatory Assessments. We look forward to continuing to work with industry stakeholders and Congress toward comprehensive reform in the new year.

We are also increasing efforts to expand eligibility of dietary supplements in HSA and FSA accounts through an approach that will closely align with the success CHPA saw on this issue with OTCs in 2020. In fact, CHPA backed federal legislation introduced in the 117th Congress that would achieve this, and we’re continuing to build stakeholder and lawmaker support for this issue as an important new benefit to millions of consumers who participate in HSA or FSA programs.

Looking Ahead CHPA hopes to keep this momentum going into 2023 by continuing to advance our self-care mission, which is rooted in innovation, strong science, safe use, continued access, and increased choices for America’s healthcare consumers.

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