Beware of McCain's Freedom-Destroying Dietary Supplement Regulatory Bill

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Most are familiar
with those commercials on television promoting prescription drugs
that supposedly offer relief from a variety of ailments, if one
would only pressure one’s doctor to obtain them. They have
become a source of great entertainment and amusement to some, the
kicker coming at the end of each commercial when the FDA-approved
medication’s obligatory litany of warnings and dangerous side
effects is recited: “Tell your doctor if….” and “Side
effects may include…..” Some of the warnings are mild like
diarrhea and constipation, some list serious effects like cancer
or tuberculosis, and others admit that sometimes even death can
result.

The point here
is that these are all FDA-approved drugs being advertised and used
extensively. Drugs that can cause serious diseases like lymphoma.
Drugs that can kill. The FDA’s dismal safety record is well
documented; even PBS
ran a Frontline special
that investigated and exposed the FDA’s
unsafe drug record, the influence of Big Pharma inside the FDA,
and lack of long-term testing and medical review of many, many dangerous
drugs. The FDA seldom removes a drug from the market even after
it proves to be harmful or deadly, however they do post quarterly
reports with details of the latest potentially dangerous side effects
of drugs currently under investigation.

Nonetheless,
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) wants this same FDA, with its dismal
safety record, to regulate dietary supplements. The Dietary Supplement
Safety Act (DSSA), S.
3002
(text
of this bill
posted on Senator McCain’s website), that McCain
has introduced with one cosponsor, would repeal key provisions of
the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) to “more
effectively regulate dietary supplements that may pose safety risks
unknown to consumers.”

Under attack
by the DSSA is the once-protected field of supplements, as they
have always been considered food. Potencies would have to be reduced
to comply with what appears to be a plan modeled after the European
Food Safety Authority. A new list of “Accepted Dietary Ingredients”
would be “prepared, published, and maintained by the Secretary,”
in the future. That’s a bit like being handed a blank check
and told to fill it out later as one wishes. It could certainly
be used to severely limit access to, and even production of, hundreds
of life-sustaining and essential mineral, herb, and vitamin products.

All ingredients
contained in each supplement would have to be disclosed at the time
the company registers all of its “manufactured, packaged, held,
distributed, labeled or licensed,” products with the FDA. An
onerous burden would be placed on the shoulders of suppliers and
retailers of dietary supplements, as they would have to “obtain
written evidence” from the seller that the product is registered
as required by law, and keep that documentation on file. Monetary
penalties for non-compliance “may, in addition to other penalties
imposed in this section, be fined not more than twice the gross
profits or other proceeds derived from the manufacture, packaging,
holding, distribution, labeling, or license of such dietary supplement.”
Those are very broad dictates and most likely subject to even broader
interpretation.

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the rest of the article

February
26, 2010

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