The future of structure/function claims

W hen it is the desired outcome of a regulatory authority to dismantle itself … then the activity affected by that agency will take a turn for the better. And its actions will create a new day for the proper direction of the executive divisions of government. That is because competition is a far better way to solve problems than by edict, command, or fiat. Such practices can only result in a lot of unsatisfied, disgruntled, and oppressed people, where a market solution satisfies most individuals and oppresses none.

Caution: If you thought that the nutritional supplement industry was safe when it came to challenging the validity of structure/function claims, as embrace by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), think again.

Recently, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—the parent agency of the FDA—released a report called “Dietary Supplements: Structure/Function Claims Fail to Meet Federal Requirements.”* The Washington hearsay is that this report is a naked effort to overturn all structure/function claims that food and supplement producers are legally allowed to make, and to convert this fallacious conclusion into yet another administrative “law.”

* https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/oei-01-11-00210.asp

In other words, this new overreach attempt is intended to build support for a new ruling that would require FDA pre-approval, rather than just notification, for structure/function claims. If realized, this ploy would represent a substantial growth in the regulatory power of the FDA. And the net result of this outrageous prohibition would be to blind further supplements consumers, masking from them the knowledge of what supplements can do. Furthermore, it would bind to an even greater extent the freedom of speech supplement makers possess, despite already draconian limitations on their First Amendment rights.

In the words of the instigating report: “Stakeholders have urged FDA to strengthen oversight of these claims because they are potentially misleading and may lack scientific support.” Who, you may wonder, are the “stakeholders?” Could they possibly be certain competitors, such as members of the pharmaceutical industry?

There can only be one reasonable response to the grab for one more unjust acquisition of undelegated powers. And that is to demand that your Congress people (Senators and Representatives) intercede and bring to a halt one more brazen attempt to override the intent of Congress as unanimously embraced by DSHEA, and to protect your right to choose. Let them know you disapprove in the strongest terms.

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