The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Silver Spring, MD, has adopted a policy to support federal legislation to clarify that controlled substances, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act, may not be included as ingredients in dietary supplements.
While no such legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress at this time, AHPA plans to support this kind of direct approach to address occasional reports of products labeled as “dietary supplements” that contain anabolic steroids, a class of controlled substances that adulterate the supplements and make them unlawful.
“Legislation to exclude controlled substances from the definition of dietary supplements would remove these ingredients from the product category entirely,” noted AHPA president Michael McGuffin. “It is AHPA’s view that the Congress did not intend to allow steroids and other controlled substances in supplements, but it now appears that some clarification of this point is needed.”
AHPA has also adopted a position to oppose S. 3002, a bill introduced in February by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), in part to address undeclared steroids and drug ingredients in supplement products. S. 3002 would make significant amendments to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which already defines dietary supplements to explicitly exclude approved new drugs. But neither DSHEA nor the McCain-Dorgan bill directly address anabolic or “designer” steroids.
“There is no place for anabolic steroids or other controlled substances in dietary supplements or in sports nutrition,” noted Mr. McGuffin. “The actions taken by the AHPA board are intended to refocus the attention of the Congress and sports organizations onto a legislative route that will address the stated purposes of Senators McCain and Dorgan without disrupting access to lawful supplements by consumers who choose to use them to support their health.”
In voting to oppose S. 3002, the AHPA board expressed concern that this legislation as introduced would have significant detrimental effects on the dietary supplement industry, including retailers, and on American consumers’ access to a broad range of dietary supplements. The board also noted that the bill is redundant in some places to current laws, and would create new burdens for FDA without any reciprocal benefit.