A new bill called The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) of 2010 (S. 3002) has been introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The bill, cosponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), will curtail free access to dietary supplements (like vitamins) and give the FDA full control over the supplement industry. The DSSA would undo the protections in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which was passed in 1994 to ensure the freedom to buy and sell supplements.
If passed, McCain’s bill will give full control of the supplement industry to the FDA. He claims his legislation comes as a response to illegal steroid use among professional sports players, but I’m guessing his pharmaceutical industry backers are behind it as well.
The DSSA requires companies that formulate and manufacture supplements to register with the Department of Health and Human Services. This will burden companies with new costs (thus increasing the prices of supplements) and more bureaucracy (funded by tax-payers, of course).
The bill will also mandate that all “non-serious adverse events” experienced by supplement users be reported to the government, regardless of whether the supplement was the cause of the event. That trick would allow the FDA to pull a supplement and/or classify it as a drug. The legislation also requires the government to establish a list of permitted supplements, opening the door to all kinds of pharmaceutical company lobbying (an easy way to get rid of the competition).
Senator McCain calls this bill a “no-brainer.” That might better describe its creation.