Pew advises FDA to pursue dietary supplement safety reforms


The Pew Charitable Trusts wrote on May 3 to Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, recommending measures to improve the agency’s oversight of vitamins, herbs, fish oils, hormones and more. food supplements. The majority of adults take supplements, which are marketed for uses such as improving nutrition, weight loss, and athletic and sexual performance. Over the past two decades, the agency and researchers have found drugs and other illegal ingredients in hundreds of these products. And in a 2019 Pew survey, 7 in 10 adults said that under current law, the agency cannot protect Americans from unsafe supplements.

Pew specifically urged Commissioner Woodcock to:

  • Support a new requirement that manufacturers provide the FDA with basic information about all the supplements they sell, including their ingredients and labels, a policy known as mandatory product listing.
  • Make sure the FDA can order the recall of supplements containing active pharmaceutical ingredients, an authority that agency officials have previously said are lacking.
  • Improve enforcement of requirements that manufacturers alert the FDA to new food ingredients they plan to market, giving regulators the ability to review the safety and proposed uses of these substances.

These tools and policies would allow the FDA to know what products and ingredients are available to consumers and to remove illegal and harmful supplements from the market more quickly.


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