The National Health Federation is the world’s oldest health freedom organization, according to Scott Tips, president and general counsel of the California-based international non-profit, consumer education organization. For 57 years, it has been working to protect individuals’ rights to choose to consume healthy food, take supplements and use alternative therapies without government restrictions. NHF employs lobbyists in Washington, D.C., who fight to protect citizens’ health rights.
Through these efforts, the organization has also been working on behalf of the dietary supplement industry. “Fighting for health freedom rights for individual consumers, the NHF is also fighting for the rights of the dietary supplement industry to produce and sell its products. Therefore, our legislative efforts are actually geared toward benefiting the dietary supplement industry every bit as much as the individual consumer,” said Tips.
The NHF viewed the issuance of the NDI Draft Guidance with disgust and alarm, according to Tips, adding that “it was clear that the FDA’s interpretation of DSHEA was totally at variance with what DSHEA says and its clear intent as stated by Congress.”
Word reached Tips about the NDI draft guidance being issued while he was attending the Codex Alimentarius Commission meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Our immediate reaction was negative and I personally thought within minutes of hearing the news and discussing it with CRN’s John Hathcock that our easiest and quickest fix would be to simply move the grandfathering date forward in time to sometime in 2009 or 2010,” explained Tips. “I told John that idea and then NHF proceeded to act on it immediately through our lobbyist, Lee Bechtel, in Washington, D.C.
“Lee was marvelous and quickly found Rep. Dan Burton and worked with his staff to draft a concise and effective bill (H.R.3380), which we named the ‘Dietary Supplement Protection Act,’” he continued. “Rep. Burton was equally marvelous and had the bill filed and moving forward by mid-Fall 2011.”
The bill hasn’t received a windfall of support, according to Tips, who explained that an industry trade association expressed that some of its members were concerned that H.R.3380 might “open up” DSHEA and result in unfavorable changes to the law.
“I told him that DSHEA was being ‘opened up’ anyway by our opponents each and every year regardless,” he said. “Were we to cower in a corner, wringing our hands in fear, while our opponents continued to salami-slice our freedoms away? Or rather should we not stand up and take decisive action of our own? He had no answer.
“NHF does have an answer and a decisive plan for action that we are enacting every day,” he continued. “The next step is band together, and get behind legislative efforts to force the FDA to withdraw its draft guidance or at least to nullify its effects. It is time now to speak with a united voice to our servants in Congress. This draft guidance is already having a stifling effect on the industry, which is exactly what the FDA wants.”
More information about H.R.3380 can be found at http://www.thenhf.com/page.php?id=295.