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Supplement trade groups mark 100th meeting

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WASHINGTON — Four of the leading trade organizations representing the dietary supplement industry are commemorating the 100th meeting of the Dietary Supplement Trade Associations (DSTA). More than ten years ago, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) began holding monthly DSTA meetings to discuss ongoing industry challenges, initiatives and opportunities.

“Our industry is stronger when we speak with one voice,” said Michael McGuffin, president, AHPA. “AHPA proposed these regular meetings to enhance collaboration amongst the trade associations. Working together on key issues, we are able to identify and accomplish shared objectives on behalf of our respective and collective members.”

Since the DSTA’s first meeting in January 2011, the group has been responsible for a number of initiatives that help protect public health, foster a stronger relationship with FDA, and advocate for meaningful legislation.

Among the proactive outreach to consumers, retailers and industry have been joint advisories warning of illegal ingredients in the market, including phenibut, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), and designer anabolic steroids. Additionally, the group issues statements about the appropriate use of supplements, reminding the public that these products cannot claim to treat disease, such as opioid addiction or Ebola virus. Over the past year, the coalition has also consistently warned industry and consumers about fraudulent products in the market related to COVID-19.

“Public safety is the highest priority for the dietary supplement industry,” said Scott Melville, president and CEO, CHPA. “The trade organizations are committed to ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality products that support health and wellness and empower self-care choices.”

To further protect the health of consumers, industry fosters a strong relationship with FDA and advocates on behalf of the agency to ensure it has sufficient tools and resources to do its job efficiently. Joint communications from the associations have contributed to both the office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP) being elevated from a “division” to an “office” in 2015 and increased funding for the agency.

“Close collaboration with FDA is critical to fostering industry innovation and growth,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO, CRN. “While each trade association maintains its own distinct relationship with FDA, we often approach the agency collectively, asking to meet with FDA jointly to convey our unified voice on topics of concern.”

A collective industry voice continues on Capitol Hill. The coalition worked to enact the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA) of 2014 and advocated for the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator Control Act of 2019. The four trades also all supported legislation that would permit low-income Americans to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to purchase a multivitamin supplement.

Currently, the coalition is working together to find a legal pathway to market for CBD in dietary supplements and supporting legislation that would allow consumers to purchase dietary supplements using their Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

“Congress has long asked industry to speak with a unified voice,” said Loren Israelsen, founder and president, UNPA. “The DSTA’s history of collaboration demonstrates to members of Congress and their staff a unified industry that is committed to reasonable legislative solutions that protect consumers and level the playing field for responsible companies.”

Moving forward, the trade organizations remain focused on key issues facing each association’s members and working with Congress to enact critical legislation. The DSTA will continue to provide educational events for industry, FDA and Congress, including maintaining support for the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus and quarterly briefings on Capitol Hill for congressional staff.


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