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NIH DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS OFFICE WOULD BE ESTABLISHED

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

NIH DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS OFFICE WOULD BE ESTABLISHED under the Dietary Supplement Health & Education bills (HR 1709 and S 784) introduced April 7 by Rep. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The Office of Dietary Supplements would be responsible for conducting and coordinating "scientific research within the National Institutes of Health relating to dietary supplements and the extent to which the use of dietary supplements can limit or reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, birth defects, osteoporosis, cataracts or prostatism." The NIH office would "collect and compile the results of scientific research relating to dietary supplements," including data from "foreign sources" and the institutes' new Office of Alternative Medicine, the two bills state. The new office also would provide advice to HHS, FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on issues including "dietary intake regulations," the "safety of dietary supplements" and health claims for dietary supplements. The Hatch bill states that the NIH office will "explore more fully the potential role of dietary supplements as a significant part of the efforts of the U.S. to improve health care" and will promote "scientific study" of the benefits of supplements in "maintaining health and preventing chronic disease." Other activities envisioned by the legislation for the NIH dietary supplements office include developing a database for research on supplements and coordinating funding for NIH on dietary supplements. The Hatch bill also identifies specific projects that the office should work on: a study examining the feasibility of requiring dietary supplement marketers to notify FDA before making health claims for their products; and a study on changes in manufacturing practices for raw materials used in dietary supplements (see preceding story). Both bills would appropriate $ 5 mil. for the office for 1994 "and such sums as may be necessary for each subsequent fiscal year."
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