On February 19, 2010, consumer healthcare advocate, best-selling author and actress Suzanne Somers appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s “No-Spin Zone,” which airs on FOX news channel. Their discussion centered on the McCain/Dorgan Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010, which many experts fear would dismantle the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.
The eloquent Somers stressed the importance of consumers’ right to buy dietary supplements and blamed the FDA’s admitted failure to protect consumers’ safety for setting the stage for the McCain/Dorgan bill.
Many people are outraged to learn that drug-safety information is often hidden from professionals and consumers, and that manufacturers may be directed to conduct safety studies when drugs are already on the market.
Dietary supplement health benefit information is also shielded from the public purview. This lack of scientific freedom of speech has been the subject of many suits against the FDA, including Pearson v. Shalala (D.C. D.C. 1999); Pearson v. Shalala (D.C.D.C. 2001); Pearson v. Thompson (D.C.D.C. 2001); and Whitaker v. Thompson (D.C.D.C. 2002), which held FDA censorship of nutrient-disease relationship claims to be unconstitutional.
The McCain Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010 will not make consumers safer. The failure of the FDA to move against products adulterated with steroids or other illegal ingredients masquerading as dietary supplements puts our health at risk. Given the FDA’s repeated failures, why would we give it more power? As Suzanne Somers said so courageously, we deserve better than the flawed McCain/Dorgan DSSA.