HEALTH

New York Senator calls on FDA to ban BMPEA-containing supplements

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., over the weekend added his voice to the controversy swirling around BMPEA, criticizing the Food and Drug Administration for having not already acted to ban this ingredient from the market, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal published Sunday
 
According to the report, Schumer warned that consumers may not know that they are ingesting the stimulant because BMPEA is often listed on federally regulated labels as “Acacia rigidula.” Consumers have “knowingly been deceived by a number of companies that produce dietary supplements,” Schumer said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “It would be bad enough if this were going on without the FDA catching wind of it, but the truth is that the FDA has known about it for two years and done nothing.” 
 
"The Natural Products Association strongly believes that banning products containing BMPEA is an unrealistic way for the FDA to remove them from store shelves, and is a waste of the agency's time and resources," countered Daniel Fabricant, CEO and executive director for the Natural Products Association and former director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs at FDA. "The proposed ban is not based in the reality of how food and drug law actually works. The agency has several stronger and quicker tools it can rely on to go after products that it feels pose a threat to consumers, including mandatory recall authority and administrative detention," he said. "What's more, the FDA has the necessary expertise on staff to determine whether BMPEA is dangerous, and if and how it should be removed from the marketplace. While many have questioned whether BMPEA is a legitimate dietary ingredient, that decision is ultimately up to the FDA, and the agency can use its power to take action against companies that have not filed New Dietary Ingredient notifications. The FDA has always had full regulatory authority over dietary supplements, and protecting public health is at the forefront of its mission. NPA supports FDA exercising its full regulatory authority under the law if it finds valid safety concerns with certain products."
 
The controversy was most recently brought to bear by a Harvard Medical study published last week in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, in which the lead researcher Pieter Cohen called for the FDA to immediately ban BMPEA or Acacia rigidula, a supplement with weight loss marketing claims. 
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