McCain supplement bill more about pro sports than public safety

To understand why Sen. John McCain introduced a bill on dietary supplements, read the press releases. The legislation announced Feb. 3  addresses public safety, but mostly it’s about the reputation and revenue of professional and Olympic sports.

The evidence: McCain says in the release that “a little over a year ago the NFL suspended six players, including two players from one of the teams competing this Sunday, for violating the league’s anti-doping policy.  Several of the players were surprised that they tested positive for a banned substance because they used a dietary supplement they believed to be safe and legal.”

McCain ends the release, “It is my hope that this legislation will ensure that all Americans, including athletes, have all the information necessary to make informed decision when choosing whether to use a dietary supplement, and that the FDA has the ability to remove any harmful dietary supplements from the market.”

What organization was first to endorse the legislation? Major League Baseball. Commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement supporting the bill and MLB.com reported on McCain’s announcement of the legislation.

Next on board: The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which issued a press release with an affiliated group, Supplement Safety Now. Its members include Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA, NHL, PGA, NCAA and other national sports organizations. All are powerful organizations inside and outside Washington. And they share a complaint: Their athletes have been unwitting victims of mislabeled supplements that caused disqualifications and suspensions.

In other words, the products were bad for business. The groups want to arm the FDA with the data to monitor supplements and the power to yank immediately the detrimental ones off the shelf. They found an ally in McCain, whose 2008 presidential campaign received substantial financial support from athletes and others in pro sports, ESPN reports.

The initial response from groups representing supplement makers and marketers was tepid. “Though we have not yet examined this bill completely, it places new burdens on dietary supplements that are not required for any other class of food,” Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association said the third paragraph of a press release.

The last sentence of the third paragraph of a press release from the Council for Responsible Nutrition quotes CEO Steve Mister as saying, “The best way to help consumers is through collaborative efforts with industry, government and other stakeholders, such as USADA, to implement the current laws, to provide more resources and funding to FDA, and to pass the food safety bill, which already includes many of these provisions.”

As the bill moves from the headlines to the sidelines, look for an intense lobbying effort by sports organizations. Supplement-related scandals have hurt their reputations and wallets. They see a solution in increased federal action and will push hard for that.

About 

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.

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14 Comments

  1. tanya marquette said:

    Grrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111111

    Okay, now that I said that—–
    The beginning of any discussion about this type of bill has to be the Codex Alimentarius and the CAFTA treaty of 2006. The Codex A is basically a trade agreement under the guise of concern for health and safety. It is nothing other than the culmination of years of efforts of the pharmaceutical corporations, agrabusiness and the chemical corporations that supply them with pesticides, chemical fertilizers and GMOs attempts to control all food and, consequently all people of the earth.

    The Codex A states that all signers of the agreement will change national laws to comply with this agreement. That means that the Codex, slipped into the CAFTA at the last minute, not read by a single senator, and voted into existence by only 1 or 2 votes, is now a part of American trade agreements.

    The Codex has been fought against by millions of people in the world. It is draconian. And it demands that we, the USA, kill our DSHEA guarantees to freedom of access to vitamins, herbs and nutritional supplements. DSHEA was voted into law in 1994. It was a UNANIMOUS vote in congress based on major lobbying by the people of this country. The people still feel this way but have gotten side tracked by things like several wars, a crashed economy, and all the ridiculous scandals of congress and hollywood stars.

    This McCain bill is again sidelining the real intent of this bill which is to trash our health freedoms under the DSHEA regs and create the “harmonization” mandated under Codex A.

    This bill needs to be stopped. Having talked with several health food stores in my region, I know they have a passive attitude and expect their national organization to do the work to protect their livelihoods. They need to called to arms on this as such legislation will kill our health stores and kill our health.

    Many Americans rely heavily on significant potencies of supplements to counter the toxic effects sufferred from years of eating pesticide infested food, toxic waters, chemically laden air and toxic drugs all of which overwhelm the immune system. Such access to high potency vitamins for example are necessary to withstand the onslaught of laboratory manufactured viruses released into the public. For example Vit C and Vit D3 in large doses antidote these viruses. They are cheap, particularly compared to big pharma drugs. Big pharma wants all our holistic dollars and is adamant about controlling our health. Or perhaps I should say our level of illness which they work hard on creating. They have a great program for their stockholders: create more illness, sell more drugs that create new illness so they can sell even more drugs.

    This McCain bill and any like it must be stopped and the public be educated about Codex and its American manifestations.

  2. Karen Vaughan said:

    The article fails to say why what is good for big sport is bad for us. The McCain bill purports to have accurate labeling and to empower the FDA to yank things that are not accurately labeled. I doubt that is what will happen. And is big Pharm in on it? But it would have been helpful if you ennumerated why it will hurt the consumers.

  3. Laurie said:

    Supplements, and the freedom to take them, are valued by a lot of us. In fact, many of us would say we Need Them, and don’t want an additional layer of expensive approvals and disapprovals in the way. Why can’t we ever be considered adults?

    This bill is an outrage. An athlete took something, voluntarily, without researching it, and that is the excuse for treating all Americans even more like their bodies are owned by Big Nanny Ogre Government.

    Sometimes a supplement is the best option available. This is partly because it is so expensive for a drug to get through the FDA approval process. There are meds that have been prescribed safely for decades in other countries that are not available here and never will be. For instance Noscapine for prostate cancer. Cheap and safe. The FDA is willing to let us die, rather than take something that hasn’t been approved by them and their cronies.

    But at least, we’ve had some freedom in supplements. Sometimes we can take an extract that is the basis for a drug we can’t have. I value this, and I’m not sure I would be alive today if this law were in effect.

    Next week I might want to try something else and I value the freedom. I don’t have that long to live, and I want to live as well as I can.

    There is no question that this will reduce our nutrient options and make those that come through much more expensive.

    When will this end?

  4. art said:

    Anyone know WHICH “supplement” was the culprit? THat would solve the whole thing.

    I know, the momentum is already in force with the big money behind it…but really folks, it’s not like steroids are gonna be added for free – for FREE! – and nobody will notice (Really?). Is that the best cover story they could come up with? I suppose we have plenty of boom boom explosive news to cover the holes in it long enough to pass the legislation – and it helps out the beleagured pro sports ridiculous “circus”* people. *as in “bread and…”

    I love how they said in one of these articles that it would be of benefit to “athletes and consumers.” yikes. makes me feel if not non-human, at least non-citizen, certainly non-equal to the “big money boys.”

    wish i could make my own vitamin C. wish agribiz hadn’t wasted our precious topsoil and water and organic knowlege on new and better ways to de-nutrition-alize, if not outright poison food. Wait! That’s the same as saying “poison US.”

    what a racket. what a country. what a bunch of greedy, power-mad sociopaths ruining it for the rest of us.

    Someone proposed a Gigantic General Strike apr. 15 THRU !8th. Someone doesn’t get it… why they call it a walk-out instead of a walk-out and walk-back in!

    So…it’s up to us. And our brighter friends. Spend Carefully.

    Be Well,
    Peace

  5. Brianna Harrington said:

    I agree with Tanya on this one. This bill is definately connected to Codex A, and it’s only one of the many that will be created. They try to present these bills in such a way that do not look threatening to the American people, in this case, claiming that the focus is on professional athletes. That is just a front. Once a bill like this gets passed, it opens the floodgates, and little by little the regulations and restrictions apply to everyone. I am a Holisitc Health Counselor, so this Codex stuff poses a great threat to my practice, and to the work of many other practitioners.

  6. Mildred said:

    This is just another tactic to take our freedom. I don’t trust the FDA with everything either, they approve drugs that kills people and then they take them off the market for a while and release them again.It should be the american people’s choice to take vitamins if they want too. We take a chance on their drugs.

  7. Kelly said:

    So much for Republicans and their claims that Democrats want to take away our freedoms with socialism right? All these politicians are the same. Pharma is behind this 100%. They kill thousands of people annually with their poison and a few athletes get duped by ephedra-based muscle building powder so they have to take control over the health supplement industry…screw them!

  8. Dave said:

    Tanya and Brianna… good for you ladies! Yes indeed this is all about Codex Alimentarius. My fellow American brothers and sisters, we must, for the health of our families, research and understand Codex. The best quote I have heard… “the legislation of mandated toxicity and under nutrition”. The old man is being played by Big Pharma.

  9. sara said:

    The FDA does not have the expertise to regulate dangerous prescription drugs, untested vaccines, nor does it regulate the pharmaceuticals. How on earth do they expect to regulate vitamins, supplements and herbs that actually help people?. This is a pharma bill to protect their profits and increase costs of products that help people overcome disease. Government has not regulated over the counter drugs, aspirins and approves drugs without testing and this is a sham to prevent the good health of Americans. McCain is a career politician who is getting pharma kickbacks to his re-election campaign.

  10. KAY DAVIS said:

    AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED, MCCAIN IS JUST ANOTHER HYPOCRITE WHO TOOK AN OATH TO SERVE US, BUT HAS DECIDED TO SERVE THE WISHES OF BIG BROTHER! HE CAN NO LONGER BE TRUSTED! HE IS JUST ANOTHER TRAITOR OF HIS OATH, JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM IN WASHINGTON! I HAVE ONE ANSWER THAT MIGHT HELP, IT’S CALLED (TERM LIMITS) 8 YEARS AND NOOOO MORE! THEY ARE IN THE POLITICAL MACHINE WAY TOO LONG, AND BECOME SELF SERVING FOOLS THAT COULD CARE LESS ABOUT “WE THE PEOPLE” OR OUR RIGHTS! IT’S OUR FAULT IF WE DO NOT VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE! GET HIM OUT OF OFFICE! HE HAS NO RIGHT TO BE THERE ANY LONGER!

  11. Jean-Baptiste said:

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that the althletes who claim they took steroids like substances accidentally are not being honest? How many times must we all be punished for the misdeeds of others. Let the blame fall where it belongs: with thos who broke the rules. (As foar as I am not concerned about professional srorts and other games but I nderstand that a lot of people actually care about home run statistics, etc. I do not care about games. I do care about my health. Please leave me out of your stupid game with its stupid rules.)

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  13. Ian Gilyeat said:

    McCain has withdrawn his sponsorship of the bill. He should have never introduced it in the first place. Healthcare decisions belong with the family and individual – not with the Federal government.

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