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Durbin Strikes Back

Durbin Strikes Back
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After we defeated his anti-supplement bill in 2022, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is trying to do the same thing again. Let’s make sure he doesn’t succeed. Action Alert!


  • Sen. Durbin is planning to reintroduce his legislation to require mandatory product listing for dietary supplements.
  • This is an unnecessary regulation that will restrict consumer choices, putting us on a road to high-dose supplement restrictions with no basis in safety or public health.
  • It is another instance in which the FDA shows its loyalty to drug companies by slapping needless red tape on its competitors in the natural product industry.

It’s time, once again, to defend our supplement access in the face of an FDA / Big Pharma / Sen. Durbin onslaught. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again—but not without a powerful grassroots response telling Congress NOT to restrict our supplements.

MPL on the move

Earlier this week, Sen. Durbin, a longtime supplement opponent, reportedly sent letters to several supplement industry trade groups indicating he would be reintroducing his Dietary Supplement Listing Act requiring mandatory product listing (MPL) for supplements. This comes on the heels of the FDA asking for the authority to require MPL in its list of legislative proposals for Fiscal Year 2025, as it did the previous year. With your help and support, we defeated Sen. Durbin’s legislation in 2022, and we can do so again.  But, like last time, we need your help.

MPL seeks to create a registry of all supplements on the market bringing it ever closer to the Canadian model that our colleagues at the Natural Health Products Protection Association have confirmed are wiping more and more products from Canadian retail shelves. Sen. Durbin and the FDA claim this policy would help regulators “know when new products are introduced and quickly identify dangerous or illegal products on the market.” We believe Sen. Durbin and the FDA are using safety as a smokescreen and that such a registry will be used to target and eliminate products that the agency believes do not comply with its ridiculous regulations. Just like in Canada.

Supplements: a health threat despite ZERO deaths?

For starters, this is a solution in search of a problem. The safety record for supplements is indisputable. Dietary supplements boast a consistent and remarkable safety profile making them many times more safe than conventional foods. Data from the American Association of Poison Control Center’s National Poison Data System (NPDS) typically show, year on year, that zero Americans die from taking dietary supplements.

Oft-cited reports on supplements causing adverse events fail to highlight that many cases are the result of unsupervised children swallowing pills, elderly Americans choking, and heart palpitations from ingesting too many diet pills, sexual enhancement pills, and energy drinks. Compare these numbers to the adverse events caused by pharmaceutical drugs, or even rates of food borne illness, and you’ll find that supplements are, overall, among the safest things you can consume.

The bottom line is that the supplement industry is not sickening and killing alarming rates of Americans to necessitate restrictive policies. So what’s the real motivation?

As we’ve argued through the years, the FDA takes an antagonistic attitude towards natural products because it relies on the drug industry for funding, and natural products compete with drugs. Put simply, the FDA is captured by drug industry interests. We believe this helps explain the motivation behind many anti-supplement policies, including the ridiculous limits the FDA imposes on what can be said about the benefits of supplements.

The case against MPL

The implications of MPL are even more concerning. MPL might be used to create a list of supplements that might lead to “adverse events,” similar to a legislative effort by Sen. Durbin we defeated a number of years ago. In that case, the list would be created by the FDA and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)—the same body that once said people up to the age of 70 don’t need more than 600 IU of vitamin D per day, and above 4,000 IU may be dangerous. Through this and other mechanisms, such as harmonization with EU supplement levels we’ve discussed elsewhere, we can easily see how MPL could be used to eliminate access to high-dose supplements.

To make a long story short, mandatory listing legislation would add regulations to supplements that would increase prices for consumers and decrease available options, making it easy for the FDA to eliminate supplements that compete with the drugs that provide significant funding for the Agency. MPL would also throttle innovation in the supplement sector that delivers American consumers the most diverse array of cutting-edge products that support health, anywhere in the world.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and tell them to oppose mandatory product listing for supplements. Please send your message immediately.

2 thoughts on “Durbin Strikes Back

  • Bop

    Contacting my legislators thru ANH always gets me a response from them whereas usually I don’t get any response.

  • Linda

    The only thing that saved me when I had cancer was my organic supplements! These are safe and effective ways to heal from anything at a lower more manageable cost. Why limit a good thing? Unless you are already bought and paid for by big Pharma this bill makes no sense. Please see that this is a freedom issue!!

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