Monday, February 22, 2010

McCain's Bill Threatens Personal Health Choices

McCain's bill, the Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA), would abolish important aspects of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which works to protect supplements if they are not chemically altered or 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 & Drug Administration (FDA) cannot ban it or reclassify it as a drug. By protecting many supplements from FDA banning or reclassification, the DSHEA of 1994 helps to ensure consumer access to natural alternative medicine. In contrast, McCain's proposed DSSA attempts to restrict many natural, alternative supplements, which will only further pad the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry.

This new "safety act" is simply a way to prevent the rising competition by the supplement industry to big pharmaceuticals. McCain's bill would allow the FDA full discretion and power to decree one supplement safe for the market, while banning many others. It appears that the FDA is catering to the drug companies' bottom line, one major aspect of which is acquiring monopoly on specific supplement distribution. Under this bill, the FDA could ban a supplement and then hand it over to a drug company to be reformulated as a "drug" and sold under prescription for a much higher price.

Besides the fact that the pharmaceutical industry wants to take home the whole pie, the FDA also wants a slice of the alternative health market. Because the FDA does not control supplements, supplements do not go through the FDA approval process and therefore do not support the FDA budget. The reason for this is because the FDA drug approval process costs as much as a billion dollars per product, not because the supplements are unsafe or certain to fail the test. It is not financially logical to spend enormous sums of money when natural substances cannot legally be patented anyway!

The FDA protects pharmaceutical and drug interests, not your health or your personal freedom to choose your own supplements.

The bill also allows the FDA to cancel a product (at the company's expense) if there is a "reasonable probability" that it is "adulterated" or "misbranded." The FDA’s definition of "adulterated" and "misbranded" may be quite broad and subjective in contrast to a producer's or consumer's definition. In fact, a product could be labeled "misbranded" if it does just what it claims to do. The FDA, backed by big pharmaceuticals, should not have that much power, nor the authority and ability to interfere with educated consumer choices and violate your rights.

If passed, this bill will likely result in the disappearance of many supplements currently on the market. Big business will provide you only toxic, highly expensive drugs, not the natural treatments you seek.

We must protect our access to supplements! Contact your senators today and ask them NOT to co-sponsor or support the Dietary Supplement Safety Act.

1 comment:

  1. This is very concerning! Big Pharma at it again! I am going to certainly be writing my Senator's here in California to oppose this ridiculous power grab.