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Too many bad actors: FDA sets sights on $40bn US supplements industry

The US Food & Drug Administration is establishing a Dietary Supplement Working Group as part of a strategy to improve oversight of America’s $40 billion food supplements industry.

The development was announced by the FDA’s commissioner, Dr Scott Gottlieb, as part of a conference speech in December.

“I’ve formed a dietary supplement working group within FDA to take a hard look at what more the FDA can be doing within our existing authorities, including re-examining our own internal operating structure and procedures—and what new authorities might make sense,” Gottlieb said during a speech in Washington at the FDLI [Food and Drug Law Institute] Enforcement, Litigation and Compliance Conference. He added: “We have some specific, new policy measures that we plan to pursue when it comes to modernizing our overall approach to dietary supplements.”

The new measures were needed, he said, to address “a range of problematic conduct” in the industry.

He continued: “The dietary supplement industry has grown significantly from where it was 25 years ago. What was once a $4 billion industry of about 400 products is now an industry of over $40 billion and more than 50,000 products. And while much of this industry is responsible to consumers and the public health, there are also too many bad actors who are not.

“I’m concerned that the industry has gotten bigger and riskier faster than our policies and our capacity to manage this risk”

“With the growth come new opportunities for consumers to improve their health, but also a lot of new risks. And I’m concerned that the industry has gotten bigger and riskier faster than our policies and our capacity to manage this risk. That needs to change. And so we plan on advancing new policies that will improve our oversight in this space.”

Gottlieb said the agency had had “specific policy measures” in mind, and gave industry notice that it would be “hearing more from us on that front very soon”.

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About the Author

Jim Manson

Writer & Editor
Jim Manson is editor-in-chief of Diversified Communications UK‘s natural and organic publishing portfolio. He’s written widely on environment and development issues for specialist magazines and national media, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, and World Bank Urban Age

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