Pandering to FDA

What’s up with the supplement industry associations rolling over for FDA on ephedra? When the FDA announced the ban on ephedra, industry ‘thought leaders’ couldn’t jump fast enough to say what a wonderful thing it was. Whatever you think about marketing ephedra for weight loss or bodybuilders, an industry trade association is not there to kowtow to power. It’s there to fight for the interests of the industry it represents.

Right after the ban, here were the pronouncements of supplement industry leaders:

“The controversy about the safety of ephedra has
led to much doubt about the safety of dietary supplements. Some of
those doubts are legitimate, so getting ephedra resolved is a good
thing for the industry. Now the FDA must go ahead and enforce the
safety provisions that exist in DSHEA.”

John Hathcock, PhD, vice president for scientific and international affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition

“This decision by FDA is evidence that the agency has acknowledged its authority under the current law.”

Michael McGuffin, President of the American Herbal Products Association

Yeah? So the FDA has power. Big surprise.

“What the ephedra ban proves is that DSHEA works. The
FDA has had the authority since the passage of DSHEA to remove products
from the marketplace it deems unsafe. For years, NNFA has urged the
agency to use its powers to resolve the debate over ephedra.”

David Seckman, executive director and CEO of the National Nutritional Foods Association

The industry line is that the FDA banning a plant that’s been in
use for over 5,000 years, based on shoddy science and media spin
“proves that DSHEA works.” Is that what we all worked so hard for? To
prove that FDA can still use a double standard to pull the plug on
supplement ingredients they don’t like?

“For years, some have said that DSHEA has tied
FDA’s hands from being able to effectively protect the public
from unsafe dietary supplements. The ephedra ban can be used as
evidence that this is not true… However, if someone challenges, wins
and ephedra stays on the shelves, the FDA will say DSHEA doesn’t
give it enough teeth and new legislation is required for FDA to protect
the public.””

Mark Blumenthal, executive director, American Botanical Council

According to Blumenthal then, if you challenge the FDA in court, you’re playing right into their hands.

Hey, we all want to see the tide of bad press for supplements turn
back, and maybe these guys think by showing how “responsible’ they are,
we will win points. I think the FDA is rolling on the floor laughing,
as is big pharma. After all, while the media and these industry leaders
debate whether 24 mg a day of ephedra is safe (the pre-ban limit for
supplements), big pharma sells 150 mg a day of pure ephedrine HCl over
the counter without prescription. That’s right, an 8 year old child
could pick up a box of Primatene tablets, 25 mg each, adult dose 6/day,
down at the 7-11 or Rite Aid (some states now require it to be behind the
counter, but it’s still legal and nonprescription). FDA simply uses BAD
science to do what it wants, without challenge. The agency is totally
disingenuous when it implies that 150 mg a day is perfectly safe when
sold by their buddies at the pharma plant, but it’s deadly when a
supplement company sells 1/6 of this from a real plant.

And the supplement industry says “Good job”

What’s up with that?

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