Don’t Give the FDA More Power to Ban Our Supplements!

In response to our alert last week, more Life Extension® members than ever before contacted their Senators to protest a bill that would give the FDA draconian new powers.

This week, I will answer some questions and concerns that well-meaning individuals have expressed about this bill and our hardline position against it.

This bill is called The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA), which is a misleading title because it purports that there are lethal problems associated with dietary supplements. The reality is the FDA has all the power it needs now to protect the public against supplements that are spiked with prescription drugs, or otherwise adulterated.

The Dietary Supplement Safety Act will give the FDA discretionary authority to ban any supplement it chooses. What some have yet to comprehend is the horrific way the FDA has historically abused powers Congress bestows them.

By way of example, we at Life Extension were subjected to a rigorous inspection by the FDA in year 2003. The FDA investigator spent an inordinate amount of time reviewing our eye drop products. When we asked why out of all our products the eye drops were being so heavily scrutinized, the response was “because I can.”

What this FDA agent was telling us was that since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the FDA’s power to regulate dietary supplements was limited. This act did not apply to eye drops. The result was that our statements about eye drop products could be censored, and since the FDA had the power to do it, they used it.

Until you’ve been on the front line, it is difficult to imagine the egregious ways that government agencies abuse their powers.

I was in a Walgreens last week picking up some pictures, when a recorded voice came on to the store’s speaker system announcing the heart healthy benefits of fish oil and CoQ10.

This brought a flashback to the year 1987 when FDA agents stormed Life Extension’s premises and seized these supplements, along with a brochure that described how they could help protect against heart attack.

Accompanied by armed US marshals, I vividly recall FDA agents ridiculing me about the concept that fish oil had any relationship to cardiac disorders. The sad fact in this story is the millions of heart attacks suffered by Americans because the FDA had the power for so long to censor the truth about omega-3 supplements.

Before DSHEA was passed in 1994, the FDA routinely seized dietary supplements when a health claim was made. Some individuals have apparently forgotten the past and are determined to relive it by not understanding the unintended consequences of the Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010.

I have brought out these real-world examples to better enable everyone to understand the dangers of giving an agency like the FDA discretionary authority, defined in this new bill as “reasonable probability,” to remove dietary supplements from the marketplace. As I stated last week:

“The FDA already has broad powers to remove dangerous products. This legislation would enable the FDA to ban anything if they have only ‘reasonable probability that there is a serious problem with a product. This kind of discretionary authority gives the FDA tyrannical power to ban supplements, a power they have not hesitated to use when they’ve had it.”

I ask that all members take action now to protest this bill, or read more about why the Dietary Supplement Safety Act should not be enacted into law.