AHPA expresses opposition to mandatory product registration; restates recommendation to submit labels to existing federal database
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Board of Trustees adopted a motion on Nov. 3 to oppose the establishment of a mandatory requirement for dietary supplements to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a stand-alone approach to improving informed consumer access to a wide variety of safe dietary supplement products.
AHPA also reiterated the position adopted by the board in March to encourage supplement companies to submit their labels to the Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD) maintained by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and National Library of Medicine (NLM).
"The existing Dietary Supplement Label Database is an effective platform to provide consumers with the same type of information that would be provided by mandatory product registration," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "Before reinventing the wheel by creating another registration system, the supplement industry and federal government should work to improve this existing resource to help inform consumers."
The DSLD is a free resource that captures all information present on dietary supplement labels as provided by the seller, including contents, ingredient amounts, and any health-related product statements, claims, and cautions. It also provides a downloadable photo of each label. Users can search for and organize this information in various ways. The DSLD currently contains 50,000 labels, and it is expected to grow rapidly over the next three years to include most of the estimated more than 75,000 dietary supplement products sold to American consumers. The DSLD is updated regularly to include any formulation changes and label information in a product.
ODS recently issued a Federal Register notice to request input from academic researchers, government agencies, the dietary supplement industry, and other interested parties, including consumers on feature and functionality improvements to make the DSLD a more useful tool. ODS is specifically looking for suggestions for how the DSLD might evolve. What features might be added, improved, or enhanced--for example, in capabilities related to search, sorting, organization, and downloading of information--that would make it a more valuable tool for users? Comments must be submitted to ODS@nih.gov by November 27 to be considered by a federal stakeholder panel for the DSLD. AHPA will be submitting comments in response to this ODS notice.