Dietary Supplement Trade Associations Warn Consumers of Dangerous Substance Illegally Posing as a Dietary Supplement

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Dietary Supplement Trade Associations Warn Consumers of Dangerous Substance Illegally Posing as a Dietary Supplement

Supplement industry sounds the alarm about the dangers of “phenibut,” a substance being illegally marketed in products fraudulently labeled as dietary supplements

Published: Monday, November 5, 2018

The dietary supplement industry today sounded the alarm about the dangers of “phenibut,” a substance being illegally marketed in products fraudulently labeled as dietary supplements. Developed and used as a drug in the former Soviet Union for its supposed brain-enhancing properties, phenibut is not approved as a drug in the United States, nor does it meet the regulatory requirements to be sold in, or as, a dietary supplement. The ingredient should be considered dangerous, and has been associated with potentially serious side effects and great risk for addiction. The responsible dietary supplement industry learned that phenibut has been found in adulterated products fraudulently labeled as dietary supplements and is warning consumers to avoid purchasing any products with this ingredient.

The leading trade associations of the dietary supplement industry stand together in opposition to this illegal and unapproved substance, and have immediately taken action to keep tainted products falsely claiming to be dietary supplements out of consumers’ hands. The industry has notified the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and fully supports the agency’s legal authority to immediately remove these dangerous products from the market. In addition, the trade associations have contacted several online retailers selling tainted products containing phenibut, urging them to remove these items from their digital shelves at once.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) unequivocally warn manufacturers, marketers and retailers, and consumers to immediately halt the production, sale, promotion, or consumption of this unapproved, illegal and dangerous substance.

  • Retailers of dietary supplements, including online retail portals, should refuse to stock or sell any product containing phenibut.
  • Manufacturers, marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any product containing phenibut.
  • Consumers should avoid any product containing phenibut.

Each association and its member companies prioritizes the safety and well-being of consumers above all else. The responsible industry is committed to providing the public with safe, high-quality dietary supplement products that provide many positive benefits to promote better health and wellness.

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The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal and botanical products industry. AHPA is comprised of more than 300 domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: www.ahpa.org.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 137-year-old trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplements. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products. Visit www.chpa.org.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit www.crnusa.org. Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and LinkedIn.

The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an international trade association representing more than 100 leading natural products, dietary supplement, functional food, scientific and technology and related service companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability. Founded in Utah in 1992, UNPA was instrumental in the passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and continues to take a leadership position in legislative and regulatory issues and industry best practices. Visit www.unpa.com.

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