Natural Products Foundation asks FDA and FTC to take action against 13 nutritional products advertisers In a May 25, 2011 release, the Natural Products Foundation (NPF) reported that the organization’s representatives met with representatives of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
In a May 25, 2011 release, the Natural Products Foundation (NPF) reported that the organization’s representatives met with representatives of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NPF shared documentation “regarding 13 non-compliant advertisers who have failed to amend their marketing materials after being contacted by NPF’s Truth in Advertising program.” NPF asked the regulatory agencies to take action against those companies. Over the past 12 months, the Truth in Advertising initiative mailed 77 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements and making drug and disease claims. Most, according to NPF, followed by bringing their advertisements into compliance. NPF executive director Deb Knowles says the program’s goal “is a level playing field for the responsible core of the industry, as well as making sure fringe companies aren’t misleading consumers.” In 2010 NPF notified the FTC of 12 companies who were out of compliance and unwilling to amend their practices. Marc Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, led the NPF team.
Comment: Talk of the need for self-regulatory efforts in the natural products industry has been as enduring as the talk of need for peace in the Middle East. Kudos to the NPF for developing the program and giving it teeth by turning state’s evidence on non-compliant firms.
On May 19, 2011, the American Botanical Council (ABC) announced its finding that sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States increased by 3.3 percent in 2010. This brought the total to an estimated 5.2 billion dollars. The finding was contained in the latest issue of HerbalGram, the nonprofit ABC’s quarterly journal. The growth was below the 2009 rate of 4.8%. Among significant gainers were black cohosh (14%), ginger (17%), evening primrose (13%) and cranberry (15%). Sales fell for echinacea (20%), soy (13%), ginseng (10%), green tea (15%), grapeseed (20%) and elderberry (49%). The HerbalGram report is based on herb supplement sales statistics from market research organizations Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), SPINS, and SymphonyIRI.
New information is available on events surrounding the September 23, 2011 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The keynote speaker will be Wayne Jonas, MD, CEO of the Samueli Institute and past director of the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. At a dinner event, Jonas will share his journey as a pioneer. In addition, the event’s afternoon Colloquium to explore integrative medicine in 4 Canadian clinics will be facilitated by Harvard University’s Allen Grossman. The featured clinics will include Inspirehealth (see related story under Policy, above) and Integrative Healing Arts. The discussion will explore barriers faced by the clinics. Breakout groups will examine questions on success factors and on the extent to which present models are fulfilling the needs of the patients. Registration is required for this free event. Early bird pricing for the dinner, featuring Jonas, is $125. Tickets are available for purchase.
Comment: If anyone in the U.S. was wondering why spend precious time and resources to journey to Vancouver to explore Canadian models of integrative care, the recent decision of the government of British Columbia to fund expansion of the InspireHealth model (see related article under Policy, above) should be reason enough. Best practices appear to be north of the border.
Nutritional medicine pioneer Jeff Bland, PhD was honored in May with the Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award by the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM). Bland and his wife, Susan Bland, founded the Institute 20 years ago. In recent years IFM has attracted to its leadership such integrative and nutritional medicine luminaries as Mark Hyman, MD and Joseph Pizzorno, ND. IFM has just passed the threshold of 20 years of service. A release from IFM notes some of Bland’s long history: “With a PhD in biochemistry, Bland became a prominent educator for the natural foods Industry, served as President of the Northwest Academy of Preventive Medicine, and helped establish Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences in the Northwest. In 1981 he was invited by two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling to become the Director of Nutritional Supplement Analysis at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto, California. In 1984 he introduced the concept of using foods to create biochemical change, and started HealthComm, Inc.. Bland has been a thought leader and consultant to the natural products industry. More recently, he has focused on nutrition and nutrigenomics, the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression.
Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) bestowed its Innovative Program Award on Integrative Medicine in Residency (IMR), a program of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. STFM’s award honors excellence in the development of an original educational program or activity for family practice residents, students, or faculty. A release forwarded to the Integrator by ACIM director Victoria Maizes, MD describes IMR as “the first competency-based, online integrative medicine curriculum for residencies.” IMR has been pilot tested in 8 academic institutions over the past 3 years. The positive results led ACIM to begin “early adopter programs.” The curriculum and is now being utilized as part of a three-year residency at 14 residency programs nationwide. Director of IMR Patricia Lebensohn, MD, states: “We appreciate that STFM, the organization that represents the core users of our curriculum, is recognizing IMR’s innovation, scope and, ultimately, potential impact on the education of future family physicians.” Adds Maizes: “We believe this project has the potential to serve as a national model for training all primary care physicians in integrative medicine.