While there is still work to be done to stop Sen. Durbin’s supplement attack, there have been several positive developments over the last week. We need to keep up the pressure! Action Alert!
For many months now, we’ve been telling you about the biggest threat to your supplement access in the last decade: a policy known as “mandatory product listing” (MPL) for dietary supplements. There are two threats: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced this policy as a standalone bill, but the bigger threat is that a version of it has also been added to a bill that must be approved by Congress by the end of September, the reauthorization of FDA user fees.
Some recent developments provide encouraging signs that there is significant resistance in Congress to MPL moving forward attached the FDA user fee bill. This indicates that our advocacy is working. Congress is hearing from you, their constituents, that you don’t want more restrictions on your access to supplements. We need to keep up this momentum to ensure MPL stays out of the final FDA user fee bill.
The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is responsible for developing the Senate’s draft FDA user fee bill. This bill will eventually get reconciled with the version approved by the House. Unfortunately, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the HELP Committee, wants to pass MPL and has attached Sen. Durbin’s MPL proposal to the Senate’s FDA user fee bill. The HELP Committee has approved the Senate bill with MLP, but it is still awaiting a vote by the full Senate.
This HELP Committee-approved bill is a serious threat to supplements, but there has been some positive action over the last week. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the top Republican on the HELP Committee, made it known that he disagrees with Sen. Murray’s bill and introduced his own version of the FDA user fee bill that does not include MPL for supplements. This is an important message that he, and likely other Senate Republicans, do not support attaching these additional supplement restrictions to the must-pass FDA user fee bill.
Separately, the House has already approved its version of the FDA user fee reauthorization bill that does not include MPL for supplements. In another encouraging sign last week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrat and Republican leadership issued a press release urging their colleagues in the Senate to quickly pass their House version of the FDA user fee bill.
The bottom line: it appears Sens. Durbin and Murray will have a difficult time negotiating to keep MPL for supplements in the final version of the FDA user fee reauthorization bill. Even if they are able to keep MPL for supplements in the FDA user fee bill that passes the full Senate, it will be an uphill battle to include MPL for supplements in the final Congressional bill that reconciles the differences between the House and Senate versions.
This is all encouraging news, but it isn’t a done deal yet. We have to maintain our resistance to this policy to ensure MPL for supplements doesn’t get slipped into the final reconciled FDA user fee bill. As we’ve been saying for some time, the bill’s proponents want you to believe MPL is innocuous, but it is not. MPL provides the FDA with an invaluable tool to eliminate thousands of supplements. It can be used to eliminate higher-dosage supplements. It will destroy innovation in the supplement sector and savagely restrict your choices. We must continue to let Congress know that we are watching this process very closely.
Action Alert! Write to Congress and tell them to oppose MPL for supplements. Please send your message immediately.