The coordinated, nationwide efforts of the Department of Justice and other federal agencies in November, which led to criminal and civil charges, suggests that will has been enacted. Representatives of the dietary supplement industry welcomed the news.
“The clear message for industry, Congress, the media and consumers is that there is broad authority held by various agencies to regulate dietary supplements,” said Loren Israelsen, president, United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), Salt Lake City, UT. “UNPA has spent a lot of time and energy on education and self policing, but we need the force of law … to remove products and companies that have no interest in selling legitimate dietary supplements.”
Meanwhile, FDA has taken a first step in defining “natural” as it applies to foods, requesting public comments on the topic due in part to a number of lawsuits and several citizen petitions. “It’s about time that natural be defined by experts and not Madison Avenue ad executives,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA), Washington, D.C. “NPA strongly supports and welcomes this effort by the FDA to define what can be labeled natural, because millions of Americans are buying products they think might be natural but are really not.”
As many experts noted in this year’s State of the Industry Review, we’re at an important juncture, and 2016 will go a long way to shaping the future of the nutraceuticals market. With increased success has come greater scrutiny, which will likely continue in the months ahead. Now is a good time to read the tea leaves. Companies should look to stay ahead of the curve by anticipating changes in the landscape and adjusting their course appropriately. That means building consensus and making concessions in order to elevate the industry as a whole—above those that would otherwise bring us down.