FDA Media Blitz against S 784 and HR 1709.

Kayvan Sylvan (kayvan@satyr.Sylvan.COM)
Tue, 8 Jun 1993 02:27:30 GMT

Dear net.heads, please act on and distribute this information wherever
you think it would do the most good.

A sample letter is included at the end of this posting.


An obviously orchestrated media campaign occurred simultaneously on
CBS and ABC, claiming that the dietary supplement industry is
dangerously unregulated, and implying that The Dietary Supplement
Health and Education Acts will perpetuate this situation. But S784 and
HR1709 are regulatory bills which establish mechanisms to deal with
safety of dietary supplements.

For example, the alleged danger of comfrey, cited in the CBS Evening
News report, would have been taken into account under procedures
mandated by S784 and HR1709.

Furthermore, the health claims which ABC World News Tonight complained
about would require backing from scientific evidence before being
allowed under S784 and HR1709.

We need to support these bills with an intense write-in and phone-in

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Acts (S784, the senate
version [The Hatch Bill] and HR1709, the house version [The Richardson

These bills would:

1) Allow substantial health claims for supplements so that you can
make better decisions about how to maintain your health and thereby
cut down on later health care costs.

2) Allow you to remain informed about the latest scientific
information on the potential benefits of dietary supplements.

3) Prohibit supplements from being regulated as drugs, and prohibit
restriction of potencies or combination products.

4) Establish an Office of Dietary Supplements within the National
Institute of Health to coordinate and promote further research on
consumer use of supplements.

To Support S784 and HR1709, write or phone (preferably BOTH) your
senators and congress-persons.

In California:

Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Bldg.
Washington DC, 20510
Local Office phone: 415-403-0100
Contact: Katie Merrel
Washington Phone: 202-224-3553
Contact: Rebecca Rozen

Senator Dianne Feinstein
331 Hart Bldg.
Washington DC, 20510
Local Office phone: 415-705-8721
Washington Phone: 202-224-3841
Contact: Ralph Payne or legislative health aid

Representative Lynn Woolsey (Marin County)
439 Cannon Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Local phone: 415-507-9554
Washington phone: 202-225-5161

Representative Ron Dellums (East Bay)
2136 Rayburns Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Local phone: 510-763-0370
Washington phone: 202-225-2661

Representative Tom Lantos
2182 Rayburns Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Local Phone: 415-342-0200
Washington phone: 202-225-3531

Representative Nancy Pelosi
240 cannon Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Local Phone: 415-556-4862
[Co-sponsoring HR 1709 --- Write her a thank you note!]


Sample Letter:

Dear [Senator or Representative]

I support [Senate Bill S784 or House Bill HR 1709], the Dietary
Supplement Health and Education Act.

The recent (May 24-26) news media attack on the dietary supplement
industry appeared on the same days on two networks, and was covered
not as a current event, but rather consisted of two feature pieces
"coincidentally" on the same subject. There is no explanation for this
"coincidence" other than that the attack was prompted by powerful
outside forces -- obviously, the FDA. While the supplement industry
admittedly needs regulation, we are now moving -- with the bills
designated S784 and HR1709 -- toward regulation which will allow
reasonable claims and eliminate any product which might be dangerous.
The media attack is irrelevant to these bills and this fact should be
kept in mind.

As a consumer, I want to be informed concerning the probable benefits
of dietary supplements, without interference from the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration, which is holding out for a threshold of absolute
proof that may take years to attain. According to the FDA's proposed
rules in the Federal Register, "a health claim for a dietary supplement
will cause the supplement to be classified as a drug" and removed from
the market until the supplement companies spend an average of two
hundred million dollars and up to ten years researching it as a drug.
No company will do this because most dietary supplements are not
patentable. The result may well be the permanent removal of dietary
supplements from the market.

I am concerned about my health and I do not want to develop a
degenerative disease years from now, only to find that had the FDA not
been so restrictive I could have easily prevented this disease.
Supplements have an extraordinary history of safe use compared to
prescription drugs and many over the counter drugs. Increasing
scientific knowledge is suggesting that supplements can play an
important role in preventing degenerative diseases.

I am aware that the FDA is claiming that it is not planning to remove
dietary supplements from the market, but I am also aware that the FDA
is operating with a very narrow definition of "dietary supplement".
FDA deputy commissioner Michael Taylor considers only essential
vitamins and minerals to be dietary supplements, and specifically
excludes herbs and amino acids. I do not want the FDA to remove safe
herbs, amino acids, and other dietary supplements from the market. The
FDA is aware that the public has a different understanding of what
"dietary supplement" means, and is apparently depending on this when
it claims it is not planning to remove "dietary supplements." I find
this approach dishonest and patronizing and I resent it. Another FDA
spokesman, Dr. John Hathcock, says that the FDA is considering
"setting upper limits" on the potencies of the nutrients that they do
not consider "dietary supplements". I want the FDA to leave these
supplements alone.

I do not want the FDA to make my health maintenance decisions for me.
I want at least some control over my own life. I feel that [S784 or
HR1709] will give me this control because it will allow me to exercise
informed choice. It is the function of the FDA to ensure the purity
and safety of dietary products, but it is not their job to make my
health maintenance decisions for me.

I would very much appreciate your co-sponsorship of the Dietary
Supplement Health and Education Act.


Sources of quotes:

FDA's proposed rules: Federal Register November 27, 1991, pages 60545-60546
Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor quote: F-D-C Reports, Apr. 5, 1993 page 2
Dr. John Hathcock quote: Food Chemical News, March 22, 1993, page 48

| Kayvan Sylvan, Sylvan Associates, kayvan@satyr.Sylvan.COM, (408) 978-1407  |
| Consulting, Training, Development, SysAdmin, {BSD,SVr3,SVr4} Unix Systems  |
| "Think Globally, Act Locally." "Only you can make your dreams come true."  |
| Proud Dad of Katherine Yelena (born 8/8/89) & Robin Gregory (born 2/28/92) |

Back to the Top Level: