New Law to Monitor Drugs, Supplements; FDA to Track Adverse Reactions

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

New Law to Monitor Drugs, Supplements; FDA to Track Adverse Reactions


Byline: Gregory Lopes, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements would be required to notify the federal government of serious adverse reactions to their products as a result of legislation passed last week.

Beginning next year around this time, manufacturers and distributors of the products - including such medicines and supplements as aspirin, ibuprofen, cold medicine, ginseng, vitamins and creatine - must report to the Food and Drug Administration any adverse-reaction cases associated with their products. The legislation is expected to be signed by President Bush.

"This law will do a lot in terms of consumer confidence surrounding the dietary supplement industry," said Steve Mister, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a leading industry trade association, which represents companies such as NBTY Inc. and Pharmavite LLC.

The legislation would require companies to provide phone numbers on the products for consumers to call to report the reaction; the business would have 15 days after that to contact the FDA. Examples of reportable events include hospitalization, birth defects, disability or incapacity and surgical intervention.

About 125 million Americans are taking some type of dietary supplement and spend more than $20 billion a year for dietary supplements, which include vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals, and sports nutrition supplements, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, a research and consulting firm.

Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and Tylenol also would have to comply with the new law. Over-the-counter drugs that have been on the market for years, such as aspirin, have not been forced to report adverse events unlike new nonprescription drugs, such as Claritin.

"The law will not only bolster public confidence and but will standardize the scope and extent of reporting to the FDA," said Elizabeth Assey, director of communication for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the leading trade association for over-the-counter drug manufacturers. …

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