Facility registration, good manufacturing and good agricultural practices, adverse event reporting systems, labeling standards, new dietary ingredient provisions, rigorous testing protocols, and a deliberate health claim structure are more than just guideposts companies can use to navigate their businesses. These benchmarks are legal requirements in the consumer health products industry.
Over the years though, we’ve seen rogue companies and criminals take advantage of unwitting consumers by way of adulterating products or otherwise sacrificing quality for economic gain. Responsible brands have worked hard to dissociate themselves from the bad apples, and call out illegal activity when it arises.
Unfortunately, though, quality issues still crop up in certain corners of the industry. Faced with fundamental failures like that of the contract manufacturer ABH Pharma, which was forced to recall about seven years’ worth of products, strong partnerships between brands, suppliers, and manufacturers are essential to ensuring consumer trust for the long haul.
Writing about the “true cost of quality,” John Davidson, director of innovation and education at Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes argued, “It is more important today than perhaps any time in the past that you know who you are doing business with and that the supplier’s values match yours. Don’t let the pursuit of cost reductions compromise your quality, and thus, your reputation.”
Meanwhile, according to a recent report from market research firm Packaged Facts, U.S. retail sales of cannabis and CBD products reached $14 billion in 2019, and are on pace to increase 18% per year to $33 billion in 2024. It’s a booming market with attractive margins, for sure. But a lack of regulatory clarity and FDA inaction has unleashed chaos, and ultimately consumers could be paying a price.
“We know there are products out there that have THC in them, or the CBD levels don’t match what’s on the label,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, Council for Responsible Nutrition. “In some cases, they still have residual pesticides or high lead levels, or other kinds of contaminants—solvents used in the manufacturing that have not been removed.”
In short, it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s the wild west all over again. And it could affect the reputation of the broader nutraceuticals industry. Where do we go from here? The horizon is still pretty hazy, for now.