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Looking at some of the media coverage, you may think the dietary supplement industry is the like the Wild West. No regulation. No standards . . . And consequently no safety.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Certainly, dietary supplements are not required by law to go through the same kind of testing as pharmaceutical products. This is because the pharmaceutical chemicals developed in laboratories have never before been introduced to the human body.
In contrast, dietary supplements are categorized with food. This is because they are made with natural ingredients that have a long history of human use.
That being said, we still need regulations to make sure dietary supplements are safe and effective. Here’s how current regulations work to protect you and ensure quality.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements in several ways:
When it comes to ensuring safety, effectiveness and quality, GMPs are perhaps one of the most critical areas of regulation.
The FDA has established different sets of GMPs for pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and foods. However, it took over a decade after legislation mandated it for the FDA to establish GMPs for dietary supplements.
It’s important to understand, while the FDA expects manufacturers of dietary supplements to comply with GMPs, the FDA does not certify companies to be in compliance. Instead, when the FDA inspects a manufacturing facility, it will issue “observations,” identifying deficiencies. The manufacturer then needs to correct these deficiencies.
Since FDA GMPs were fully implemented for dietary supplements in 2009, NOW® has been an industry leader in compliance.
To become certified as GMP compliant, dietary supplement companies can turn to a few non-governmental, third party organizations. NOW® participates in several of these programs and has been audited by multiple third party auditors.