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Senator John McCain proposes unbridled FDA control over dietary supplements

by Chris Hinyub, published

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is proposing legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration sweeping new authority over the dietary supplement industry. If passed into law, The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) of 2010 would dramatically drive up supplement costs, allow the FDA unchecked discretion on which supplements to allow on the market and thus severely limit access to existing non-prescription disease remedies.

Senator McCain purportedly composed DSSA in response to the recent professional sports doping “scandal” after several athletes admitted to taking steroids sold under supplemental labels. Important to note is that the FDA already has the legal power to examine and remove any “adulterated” (drug-tainted) supplements on the market. If the agency failed in their job of quality control (and has a vested interest in suppressing the health claims of natural supplements), how does it help the situation to deny Americans access to non-synthetic drugs altogether?

Any sober analysis of our current condition as a nation will tell you we are fraught with degenerative disease epidemics while trying to maintain a stressed disease-care infrastructure. Just as more Americans are coming to the realization that they must take their health into their own hands or lose it to the powers that be, the pharmaceutical industry is diligently lobbying Congress to keep Americans from discovering disease prevention through dietary supplementation. The true aim of S 3002 is to make such personal healthcare choices unaffordable.

If made law, the registration requirements of DSSA alone would render dietary supplements cost-ineffective for most Americans. According to Ethan Huff, writing for Natural News, such mandates would “add layers of overhead costs to manufacturers who are already fully compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and are inspected by the FDA. It would also create an entire new category of taxpayer-funded bureaucrats who would oversee this hideous expansion of federal control over dietary supplement access.”

Supplement makers would be required to register with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The volumes of paperwork required to keep existing products on the market would further add to costs of production. These companies will be required to apply for approval of any new natural ingredient they wish to add to their products giving Big Pharma, by way of their well documented leadership exchange program with the FDA, complete control over the introduction of new supplements into the market.

The bill also calls for the mandatory submission to the FDA of all "non-serious adverse events" received by supplement manufacturers and these reports, in turn, would be made available to drug companies. This dynamic would aid pharmaceuticals in their quest to edge out competition through government regulation. Any instance of an “adverse event” would most definitely be used to petition the FDA to ban the supplement in question. Under this legislation, all the FDA would need is “reasonable probability” that there is a serious threat posed by any supplement to make it illegal to sell.

Imagine such tyrannical power being given to a federal agency that routinely approves the sale of deadly drugs such as vioxx. According to the CDC, poisoning from prescription drugs is now the second largest cause of unintended death in the nation. Compare that to the safety record of dietary  supplements: zero confirmed fatalities. 

What the pharmaceutical industry is really after are the proprietary rights to the main ingredients of dietary supplements. These are the naturally occurring compounds isolated in the forms of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. When the FDA bans a supplement, it no longer is afforded the legal protections that currently save it from being patented and sold by drug companies as an “FDA approved drug.” Such reformulated supplements carry with them a significant markup at retail.

It's telling that this bill comes only months after the World Health Organization's deadline for  compliance with the regulations of Codex Alimentarius – an Orwellian international trade agreement heavily influenced by pharmaceutical and international commodity trading concerns. The proposed legislation would be a giant leap towards Codex compliance as it provides the FDA with the arbitrary authority of making a list of  “permitted” supplements along with a maximum threshold for their nutritive potencies. The guiding philosophy of Codex is that all nutrients are toxins and that any food or diet related product containing said toxins must be positively codified with upper limits for nutrient concentrations. You did not misread that.

The DSSA embodies a complete rejection of our common law and Constitutional traditions wherein everything is permissible unless expressly restricted for the common good. Giving the secretary of HHS complete discretionary control over personal dietary choices is, simply put, fascism.

The FDA tried this same Napoleonic approach to the law in the early 1990s when they declared several essential nutrients as intrinsically harmful. The passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 was the public's response to the agency's outrageous claims. Senate bill 3002 will effectively repeal key components of DSHEA, a law that, although imperfect, has worked to protect Americans' rights to access free market valued dietary supplements. If DSSA finds its way into federal code, California should prepare legislation to nullify its enforcement.

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