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Posted May 21, 2014: by Bill Sardi
TO: Editors, NutraIngredients.com
Natural Product Association’s newly re-appointed CEO Daniel Fabricant’s call to prosecute makers of so-called tainted products is incredulous (these are defined as products that haven’t been manufactured in fully-FDA compliant GMP facilities or meet GMP labeling and purity requirements even though they may have harmed no one in any way, which bespeaks of a gestapo-like mentality). Are these “tainted” products causing deaths or avoidable side effects? (Eliminate misuse or any intentional overdosing before you tabulate the side effect data. That’s what did-in ephedra because crash dieters were over-dosing and taking with other medications also). So we fine or jail supplement company executives for paper violations. In a bad economy, we should have better things to do.
Consolidation of industry groups also suggests nixing dissent and giving more power to Mr. Fabricant. If Mr. Fabricant is going to continue to represent the dietary supplement industry and stick by his claim that 70% of companies are not compliant with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) you have to ask if the supplement executives go to jail or face fines if all that is wrong is that the i’s aren’t dotted and the t’s crossed.
The FDA should solely be interested in ensuring products are safe (they already are) and forget about claims of efficacy since that makes a dietary supplement a drug in the mind of the FDA. The claim that dietary supplements don’t work is an oxymoron because if they did, they wouldn’t technically be a supplement any longer. Supplements aren’t permitted to say the cure, prevent or treat any disease, even though they do! NO claims can be made for vitamins D and C, not even for the cure of rickets and scurvy which are among the greatest Nobel Prize winning discoveries of our time.
An ugly supplement industry practice has been to compete on the retail shelf on price and not deliver the amount of nutrients listed on the label. Supplement branders would look the other way and request bids from private label manufacturers who would dilute the product to win the business. But prosecuting small companies and issuing fines would be a death knell for them. Just the initiation of such a suit would put many entities out of business. The large supplement companies could go along with Fabricant’s witch hunt to eradicate competition.
The industry knows it is at odds with a belligerent and pro-pharma FDA. Why beat around the bush. And Mr. Fabricant just returned from their den of iniquity. The likes of Mr. Fabricant push for greater regulatory powers and more costly paperwork requirements (new dietary ingredient testing) that won’t make dietary supplements any safer than they already are (dietary supplements being safer than table salt, aspirin and tap water).
When we see an industry like dietary supplements and its trade groups fail to respond in a timely way to completely bogus science promulgated by the AMA and other guardians of Big Pharma’s “every disease is a drug deficiency” parade, such as the recent malicious claim that neither wine or resveratrol reduced overall mortality rates, one has to wonder if these groups are asleep at the wheel.
Twenty-five years of hearing about the French Paradox, that the wine-drinking French were (and still are) far less likely to die of coronary artery disease than North Americans was supposedly erased by a single study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The difference in resveratrol intake between teetotalers and occasional wine drinkers (2 mg resveratrol/day from wine) versus heavy wine drinkers (2.6+ glasses/day wine delivering 3 mg resveratrol) being only one milligram yet the news headlines concluded that resveratrol was ineffective even in supplement form when supplements weren’t even involved in the study.
The fact that 25.1% of the heavy wine drinkers smoked tobacco versus just 7.7% of the teetotalers and occasional wine drinkers explains why wine and resveratrol did not reduce mortality rates among senior adults living in a wine-making region of Italy. Smoking is documented to negate the mortality reduction achieved by wine.
Mr. Fabricant’s NPA had nothing to say about this. Shame on them. But neither did any other health freedom of natural product organization. Hey, we aren’t talking about an herbal product that failed to remedy halitosis here, we’re talking about a leading cause of death.
I’d like to know Mr. Fabricant’s response to the fact that dietary supplements duplicate the biological action of most prescription drugs at far less cost and fewer side effects. It would help to know which side of the fence he is on.
Ask Mr. Fabricant if he has anything to say about the FDA destroying the sale of kava kava products, based simply upon rumor, by issuing a bulletin asking consumers and physicians to report any liver-toxic side effects (just the issuance of a bulletin regarding this imagined problem put the kava growers on South Pacific islands out of business.) Would he be willing to go to bat for kava growers now?
I would also like to know how Mr. Fabricant’s stance for mandatory new dietary ingredient (NDI) testing stands, given the fact implementation of NDI would raise consumer prices at a time when consumers simply have fewer dollars to spend (Big Pharma has conducted studies showing senior Americans won’t renew a drug prescription if the co-pay exceed $10 now.) Just make sure we make supplements unaffordable and the industry is destroyed from within. Mr. Fabricant is out of touch with his own industry’s need to be affordable, particularly when modern medicine is not.
Why isn’t Mr. Fabricant going to Medicare on behalf of the NPA with a proposal to save hundreds of billions of dollars with programs that would increase usage of dietary supplements instead of drugs?
And finally, for fun, I’d like Mr. Fabricant to reveal his personal daily dietary supplement regimen, just to see how committed he is to his own industry. He looks to be in the age group of Americans that use 5-7 drugs/day.
Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.
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