USADA develops 'Supplement Safety Now' initiative

NEW YORK Ignorance is not always bliss. For as much such associations as the Natural Products Association and the Council for Responsible Nutrition assert that the dietary supplement business is in fact regulated, there still are a host of organizations that ought to know better, suggesting it isn’t.

If “Supplement Safety Now” is successful, it stands to increase the cost of doing business for retailers and supplement suppliers without making one dent into the illicit business of steroids.

When Donald Fehr, former executive director of the MLB Players Association, a year ago suggested that steroidal supplements were as commonplace in your local GNC as milk at your local grocer, who could blame him, right? At the time, it certainly seemed as though Fehr was doing his best to deflect blame for the steroid scandal that continues to rock baseball from the Players Association and assign it to an entire supplement industry.

But now there’s the United States Anti-Doping Agency, a players association of sorts for Olympic athletes, and every other major professional sports league that doesn’t include a soccer ball, calling for greater regulation of dietary supplements and for the installment of pedigree requirements on the sale of supplements that appears to be akin to the pedigree requirements associated with prescription drugs.

What if the dietary supplement industry does need greater regulation? Would that stop already-law-breaking steroid sellers from pushing their products under the guise of legitimate supplements?

If it does, then Congress should also pass legislation requiring every corner drug dealer to register as distributors of controlled substances. Because they may be onto something here, asking criminals to comply with new and stricter regulations and expecting that to have some impact beyond folding additional overhead costs into the legitimate businesses that trade in regulated supplements.

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