Update: Senator McCain Cosponsors a New Bill That Threatens Your Access to Supplements and Repeals Key Sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act

February 9, 2010
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A wide variety of organizations, working together with ANH-USA, have swung into action to stop John McCain’s new bill that threatens dietary supplements. Already thousands of messages are on their way to Capitol Hill in protest. Please be sure that your message is among them. If you have not already done so, please take action now.

As we told you last week, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) have cosponsored a new bill misleadingly called Thestop Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA). DSSA would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), signed into law by then-President Clinton.

DSHEA protects supplements 1) if they are food products that have been in the food supply and not chemically altered or 2) if they were sold as supplements prior to 1994, the year that DSHEA was passed. If a supplement fits one of these two descriptions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot arbitrarily ban it or reclassify it as a drug. DSHEA provides the framework for effective regulation of dietary supplements by the FDA.

The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) would eliminate the supplement protections contained in DSHEA and allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) arbitrary authority to draw up a list of what supplements can be sold and at what potency levels. Europe is currently limiting both supplements and potencies to ridiculous levels. If DSSA passes, the FDA, beholden as it is to drug interests, would move to do the same in the US.

Please take action now.

The purported emergency giving rise to DSSA is illegal steroid use by athletes. The bill is supported by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which is funded by major league sports teams including baseball, football and others. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has urged its adoption. In his comments, Senator McCain cited six NFL players recently suspended for testing positive for banned substances and allegedly exposed to these substances through dietary supplements.

The FDA currently has complete and total authority to address illegal steroids and, more broadly, to regulate dietary supplements. If the FDA were policing rogue products adulterated with steroids as current law requires, the NFL violations would not have happened.

DSSA also requires the reporting of even minor adverse events related to supplements. This is in addition to the already existing requirement to report serious adverse events. This will further stack the deck against small supplement companies by creating new, unnecessary, even more cumbersome, and of course very expensive administrative hurdles.

It will also give the FDA, which ignores very large numbers of serious adverse reports involving drugs, including many deaths, more ammunition to use in its capricious war against food supplements.

The likely result: the consolidation of the supplement industry into a few big companies selling many fewer supplements at much lower doses. These large companies would also very likely be owned by drug companies.

The bottom line: our health would be almost completely controlled by the FDA and drug companies.

Please take action now.

Natural Products Association executive director John Gay has issued the following statement in response to Senator McCain’s proposed legislation: “Our industry has long supported efforts to remove the relatively few bad actors who market adulterated products. We have advocated for additional enforcement funds for regulators, and for giving regulators additional authority to act. What we cannot support is wholesale changes to a regulatory structure that is working, and could work better if the measures we have supported were adopted. A series of new laws for criminals to ignore is not the answer. Some seek to paint with an awfully broad brush. For example, the idea that the 150 million Americans who use dietary supplements are gambling with their health by shopping at mainstream stores just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Hyperbole does not lead to sound policy.”

Council for Responsible Nutrition president Steven Mister offers his comment as well: “Dietary supplements have a very strong safety profile and consumers should continue to feel confident in the supplements that they are taking.”

Senator McCain’s proposed legislation highlights the mindset at the FDA, dubbed the Fear and Denial Administration by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). The FDA, which is responsible for guarding the health of American citizens, is hostile to the kind of natural medicine—based on lifestyle choices, nutrition, dietary supplements, and exercise—that is both effective and sustainable.

Senator McCain appears to have been naïvely sold a bill of goods from vested interests. It is clear he does not know that he is being used by these interests in opposition to the wishes of tens of millions of Americans who supplement wisely to maintain optimal health. If you have not done so already, please take action now or read more about The Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010.

154 Responses to “Update: Senator McCain Cosponsors a New Bill That Threatens Your Access to Supplements and Repeals Key Sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act”

  1. LynneMarie says:

    Do you ever wonder why some people in the government ,always seems to want to regulate and limit, the things that give us free will but are the first to take away or limit where money can be made to benefit themselves or their cronies? Because ultimately, it all boils down to the almighty dollar.

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  2. julie macintosh says:

    Why the emphasis on this as John McCain’s legislation- it is co sponsored by a Democrat, but this article is all about McCain.If you want to be taken seriously when you challenge legislation you have to provide a balanced responsed and not clearly show your bias against Republicans by failing to hild the Democrat to the same level of responsibility.

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  3. Nancy says:

    When is the government going to let us act and choose as adults? I am sick and tired of them treating us as if we haven’t got a brain in our heads. STOP the regulations and laws already. We are not children and we DO NOT need to be guided by some misguided “lawmakers” to tell us what makes us feel better. If you want to or not want to take a particular vitamin or herb to help yourself that is your decision. This is suppossed to be a free country an we are getting less and less free by the minute because the lawmakers have to seem all self important.

    If you want to do something besides take up space in a seat in Washington once in awhile, then go after the people/companies that do harm to people with their lies an inuendoes. STOP TAKING AWAY OUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE!!!

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  4. sorry, I I do not get it

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  5. Can I get the same results as the dentist would give me?

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  6. Sharon Hess says:

    Senator Mccain
    Please do not mess with the few choices I still make for myself. I am of average intelligence and am capable of researching and deciding for myself. I have Stage 4 colon cancer and am doing better than expected. My supplements have kept me strong and I have tolerated Chemo better than the average patient.
    If you want a fight stay on top of the health care bill and be sure it Does NOT pass.
    Thank you

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  7. Joan Hale says:

    This would be a major disservice to all peoples.

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  8. Joan Hale says:

    Please do not vote for Senator Mc Cain’s bill to make vitamins a prescription.

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  9. Yvette says:

    and this comming form a somebody (Mc Cain) who supposedly had Cancer, well lets see how long he´s going to last that way, SHAME ON HIM !
    the point is that politicians like him can afford than to go and get the “right supplements” when it comes to the bottom line. On secon thought mabe not because I´ve allways found he was kind of stupid just like Kohl was here in Germany and he was the guy who made the EU and all the BS that came with it possible! so beware of the STUPID they are the most dangerous people alive. SO YOU AMERICANS PLEASE DONT LET THE GOVERNMENT DO THIS TO YOU TOO!!!!!

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  10. Sam Ruffalo says:

    Senator McCain obviously doesn’t understand priority needs for the governance of many more serious problems with drugs and prescriptions so improperly prescribed that seriously affect the health and lives of many patients. Vitamins as foods and supplements are not in this category whatsoever and do not require FDA regulations and approvals to satisfy the pharmaceuticals who have substantial control of the health care industry as it is. Enough is enough. I’m 85 years of age, have taken many vitamins for many years; and don’t get any headaches, nausea, or any side effects. It is unfair for you to instigate changes to further regulatie the purchase of healthy and food-like pills .

    I voted for you in your bid as President of the United States. Would this be one of your primary objectives to penalize the American public because a few athletes take steroids? You know, steroids are not a synonym for vitamins and supplements. Please withdraw your Dietary Supplements Safety Act and don”t lend power to the FDA to destroy my freedom to choose and buy vitamins at reasonable costs.

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  11. D W F says:

    This is nothing but the drug companies trying to get rid of its competition. we all know that hergs heal people better than drugs. but if we all stick thgather we can beat thil. iam going to do some reasurch and i will get back with you later.

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  12. Tracy Scorce says:

    PLEASE take a close look at what you’re doing. The FDA already has wide authority to approve of DANGEROUS products in our marketplace. Trace carcinogens in every day products that the FDA knows about and approves of? And now this? What needs to be regulated is the SOURCE of their ingredients. Ex: Centrum has been proven to extract its ingredients from carcinogen sources, esp. the iron. Johnson’s and Baby Magic have been proven to have carcinogens in their products, and the FDA went on record to say it’s “just a little bit.” “Just a little” every day in an average of 15 personal products applied daily is absolutely not safe. Let’s take a good look at what we’re doing here. Allow people to have liberty to make their own choices for safe and ethical products.

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  13. Robert Rich says:

    Looks like anytime people start taking some money away from the doctors and opt to stay healthy and not get sick so they will not have to go to the doctor and pay him to get them well there seems to be a problem. I have used nutritional suppliments for over 20 years and I know they have had a positive impact in my over all health and well being.

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  14. Carolyn Olson says:

    I also strongly oppose this kind of ‘regulation’ on the supplement industry.
    There should be more regulation on the pharmaceutical industry but I suppose it’s hard to bite the hand that feeds you…well.

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  15. As the policy of the FDA regarding the supplement health is largely influenced by the Big Pharma, I vehemently am against the bill, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act being in process for the passage. It is ineffective and meaningless. It does not benefit anyone, but the greedy Big Pharma whose only interest primarily is the profit and our health secondary. Such bill implies the lack of the trust of the government, including Senator McCain in judgement of the ordinary people in our free will. It means more government power and control against our precious freedom. We don’t need any bill more than what we already have such as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. The Big Pharma ought to be controlled, not us, the free loving people.
    I am disappointed that Senator McCain who sometimes inclines toward socialism has sponsored such a bill. President Obama, a socialist that he is, would gladly sign it into law that certainly would add costs to the taxpayers beyond our limits and, thus, deprives our freedom. We are losing Freedom. Senator McCain does not help.
    Go for freedom! Long live the FREEDOM!

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  16. jane gordon says:

    hi everyone…. we are in Canada and you may want to check out this website http://www.saveournaturalhealthproducts.ca as of April 1, 2010 they are doing to Canada what Senator John Mccain’s Bill wants to do to the United States, don’t let them do it! we will have limited access to natural health products as of April 1, 2010 if they do not have a NPN#…. take care we may be purchasing our vitamins from you in the United States soon…. cheers jane gordon

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  17. Virginia Woolridge says:

    I am not sure why certain political parties allow hundreds of chemicals to be rpoducced without studying their harm to the environment and go on about personal freedoms when it comes to automatic weapons, and yet my choice for a supplement is limited?

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  18. Jennifer Beckman says:

    I strongly oppose this sort of ‘regulation’ on the medical supplement industry.

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  19. Dan says:

    The government is only looking out for our best interest. The FDA only approves drugs that are good for humans. Thank God for people like John McCain!

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  20. John says:

    All this crap should be banned you bunch of hippies!

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  21. Brett says:

    God bless the United States of America. The Government is supposed to protect our borders, and assists us in the pursuit of LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. I mean come on, get real will you. The Government has done nothing but try to make our lives hell. This is America, and we WILL NOT BE A COMMUNIST COUNTRY. Leave us alone, and take care of what the government is supposed to. Our voices will be heard, and we as the people will overcome this ignorant and selfish decision.

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  22. Julie Forrer says:

    Seriously, vitamins and pants on the ground is not what is killing us our our economy. Ban food in a box and HFCS that is killing people…oh but pharmecuetical have a solution to those. Seriously, is that all you clowns have to work on in congress? Is this health care reform?!

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  23. Maureen Nuccitelli says:

    Please do not allow this kind of legislation to interfere with my use of supplements. They help me cope with my illness.
    Thank you.

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  24. Thomas Walz says:

    I am happier and healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m about to turn 60. I’ve done a ton of research on my own to find out the best suppliers of the best supplements at the best prices and the diet and lifestyle change needed to get to where I’m at. I’m a full-time artist and make a poverty class income. I can’t afford to be sick but I can afford the food and supplements that make me healthy.

    I, as most people should, have taken my health into my own hands througn diet, lifestyle and supplements. These are the three legs my health stands on. Remove one and I don’t think I’ll be as healthy as I am.

    My cholesterol is very good as well as all my other numbers (Blood Pressure, Blood sugar, others) and the supplements I take are a huge part of me being able to maintain them.

    My doctor is amazed that I have reversed pre-diabetes and knocked 100 points off my cholesterol in 3 months. Pardon the details but a little while ago I could barely maintain a decent urinary flow. Because of the very inexpensive supplements I take, I pee like a fire hose. The only side effects of my therapy are positive, just ask the women in my life.

    I take zero prescription drugs. I can ride a bicycle 50 miles here in hilly Eastern Pennsylvania and I’m able to lift 100 lbs over my head from the floor. How many 60 year olds do you know who can do that?

    I”d hate to see some politician (most likely taking money from Big Pharma) screw me and all my fellow health conscious people out of all the time and energy we spend reading, studying and practicing our positive lifestyle.

    STOP McCain NOW!!! I want to live a very long, vibrant and vital life.

    Thanks to Dr. Mark Hyman not only for the inspiration he’s given me through his books but also for making me aware of this issue.

    Good Health to all those who pursue it.

    Peace,

    Tom

    “The United States Government is actually a subsidiary of the Pharmaceutical industry.” (Bill Maher)

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  25. Marsha Andrews says:

    NOOOOOO! The FDA already has such power over whether we immunize. I am so grateful for Dr. Hyman, an intelligent MD who values the body’s ability to heal itself rather than the usually alopathic way of waiting until the body breaks down and then patching it up with drugs. Please … let’s all fight this so we may take care of our bodies in the way we choose and not the way politicians decide. Thank goodness Michelle Obama gets it. I hope she will encourage her husband to fight this.

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    • Marsha Andrews says:

      Correction… sorry (I am so grateful for Dr. Hyman, an intelligent MD who values the body’s ability to heal itself rather than the USUAL alopathic way of waiting until the body breaks down and then patching it up with drugs.)

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  26. shannon alvis says:

    Please do not allow this kind of legislation to interfere with my use of supplements. For a candidate who proposed that Americans need less government interference (Mc Cain), this surely seems contrary and hypocritical. I do not want to have to get a prescription for my vitamins!

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  27. Joseph A.McWilliams says:

    Please don’t support the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010. It takes away my options to choose my preferred medications/supplements and gives too much power to the FDA to address their own agenda which is usually hostile towards natural medicines and supplements that are both effective and sustainable.

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  28. Ray says:

    Yes there are crooks in the Supplement industry…True health nuts do research and use our brain.

    Do you have any crooks in congress ????????

    you ARE ON THE WRONG TRACK . Bid Pharma kills more folks with there $8.00 pill and we know it;
    but NO action from congress yet…………..betcha a horse Big Pharma is at the bottom of the coral of this hijinks…………….

    And………………….I voted for You Mr McCain

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  29. LH says:

    Please do not cosponsor this bill or vote for it! We the people do not want this bill to pass. Those of us that supplement work very hard to research the products we choose to use and have even noticed improved health by doing so. To take this away from us could be disasterous…very rarely do we as a family have to make a trip to the doctor and we believe by supplementing we are preventing many health issues. We believe this is for us to decide and not the drug companies. We are very capable of making these decisions on our own. Thank you.

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  30. Lezlie says:

    How much more $$$ do they (organizations I won’t mention) need?
    Talk about screwing w/ healthcare – oh yes – let’s just allow all the crap that’s out there to be ok for us, but take away anything that’s going to possbly improve your health. AND what about freedom of choice?
    Thank the voters that McCain didn’t become Pres.!

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  31. CAs Styrcula says:

    In order to control vitamins,and other food supplemnts, I would recommend you keep the drug companies out of it. Remember when red rice yeast was found to help lower cholesterol? MAjor drug manufacturers rallies to get the derivative that did this,taken out of the mix. So red rice yeast is no longer effective the was it was when first discovered. Remember all prescription drugs were originally derived from a plant.
    . Passing this bill would obviously lead to a few large drug manufactururs to take over this industry. Why would they want us to take food supplements when they are in the market to treat DISEASE., and a far from wanting us to stay healthy!. Then the insurance companies would get involved because if we remain healthy the next generation will be even healthier and have no need for insurance! AND THEN the medical Drs would get involved because they would have no one to treat! NO COME ON! We are here on earth to live healthy prosperous lives.

    LET US DO THAT. KEEP DRUG COMPANIES OUT OF THIS AND LET THE SYSTEM REGULATE IT SELF. LET PEOPLE MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS.MR MCCAIN I AM TIRED OF GOVERNMENT TAKING CARE OF ME. I HAVE A BRAIN AND CAN DO THAT FOR MYSELF THANK YOU

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  32. E.L. says:

    Please do not cosponsor this bill or vote for it. Supplements when understood and correctly used are an important health protector and promoter. The right to access supplements must be protected for the American public. Our food supply is inadequate and nutrition supplements are important for us. — They are so important, in fact, to protect health and avoid excess medical interventions that I actually propose that in the health care legislation, nutritional supplements should actually be tax deductible just like prescription medicines are.
    PLEASE PROTECT OUR RIGHT OF ACCESS TO HEALTH NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS . Thank you. E.L.

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  33. Arden Pulley says:

    I am a dentist and write a letter every year to my patients about how to have good health. If the McCain bill is passed most of the suggestions would go down the tubes because they depend on supplements. These letters can be downloaded from “annual letters” at http://www.pulleydmd.com.
    An example is a group of supplements that stop a cold or flu if started as soon as soon as symptoms develop. Supplements are infrequently dangerous. Drugs need a prescription because they dangerous. We need more freedom, not less. This is especially true with respect to health. If this bill passes, sickness and health care costs will go up substantially.

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  34. Deann says:

    People who take supplements do their own research to find out which brands are the most reliable and provide the best nutritional support. We do not want federal government control over our vitamins and supplements! Keep your nose out of it! We do not want to be required to have a prescription to purchase our supplements. The costs would skyrocket!

    I recently had to be on a prescription antibiotic for bronchitis, and seven pills cost $126.00. That is $18.00 per pill! Ridiculous! The prescription drug industry should be the ones being legislated against to bring their costs down.

    Please, Senators McCain and Dorgan, withdraw this DSSA bill. We the people do not want it!

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  35. Pam "SlowPoke" says:

    Please leave my medicinal choices alone and allow me to make appropriate choices MYSELF without government / pharmaceutical company involvement!

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    • Chris says:

      The sad thing is that the precursor laws that allow this to happen were supported by the majority now in opposition, due to the fact that now EVERYONE’s freedom is threatened. When we lost our ability to practice entheogens, no one cared because it only applied only to a select group. When we lost clove and flavored cigarettes(cloves) and papers, and the FDA gained regulatory powers on tobacco, again no one made a stir on the behalf of the minority. Now that the threat has grown to include millions of people, pursuing unsanctioned healthy lifestyles, suddenly the public becomes aware. By now though, most are addicted to silver bullet vitamins and synthetic drugs to address every minor ache and twinge. I propose that every individuals body and personal space are sacred, and to breach that trust in ANY way, is to sacrifice to mantle of authority as a governing body.

      And I would bet that no “green” poster is going to go pop some valerian root to forget this issue, less than can be said of the opposition.

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  36. William Wiseman says:

    Hands off our dietary supplements! We need less government regulation, not more.

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