The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Board of Trustees adopted updated policies for reviewing membership applications and accepting or refusing membership to applicants during the March 9 meeting at Expo West. These updated policies are effective immediately.
The AHPA Board authorized the issuance of the AHPA Botanical Constituents Credibility Guideline in support of AHPA's member application policy instituted in November 2013. This policy requires applicants that market an ingredient claimed to be a constituent of a botanical to provide substantiation of this claim if the ingredient is not a well-established constituent of a botanical. It is intended as a tool for use in evaluating such substantiation when presented. The board further authorized editorial revisions as needed at AHPA staff's determination to make the document more useful for its envisioned purpose.
Upon receiving an application for AHPA membership, AHPA staff reviews the following for each applicant as applicable:
- Explicit claims of a product's ability to cure, treat, or prevent a specific disease on the company's labels, labeling, website, or other media;
- Marketing of any ingredients that are not well-established constituents of a botanical, if identified as such on the membership application;
- Marketing of a new dietary ingredient (NDI) in the absence of an NDI notification being filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if identified as such on the membership application; and
Applicant action(s) that may constitute:
- a violation of the AHPA Code of Ethics & Business Conduct;
- or a violation of any agreement, rule or practice properly adopted by the association;
- or any conduct that would be prejudicial to the interests of the association.
An AHPA membership application shall be considered incomplete in any of the following scenarios:
- AHPA staff review of a representative portion of the applicant company's labels or labeling (including its website or other media) identifies instances in which a specific disease is named and an explicit claim is made that the product cures, treats, or prevents a specifically named disease; and further, that this policy does not extend to perceived implicit claims to cure, treat, or prevent a disease;
- Any claim made by the applicant that an ingredient it markets is a constituent of a botanical, unless the applicant also provides substantiation of this claim if the ingredient is not a well-established constituent of a botanical as determined by AHPA staff at its discretion;
- Any claim made by the applicant regarding the marketing of a new dietary ingredient, unless the applicant has provided to AHPA a copy of an NDI notification filed with FDA if such notification is required for the NDI.
The applicant shall have the right to be reconsidered for membership in accordance with the AHPA bylaws and upon proof that the previous action that resulted in the incomplete membership application has been appropriately modified.
When applicant action(s) are determined by AHPA staff at its discretion to constitute a violation of the AHPA Code of Ethics & Business Conduct, or any agreement, rule, or practice properly adopted by the association, or any conduct that would be prejudicial to the interests of the association, AHPA staff shall initiate a review of the application by representatives of the Finance & Governance Committee. Following this review, a majority vote of the representatives of the Finance & Governance Committee shall provide a recommendation to the AHPA board of trustees or Executive Committee for disposition of the application for membership, such as the following:
- The application is refused and the applicant is not offered membership in AHPA; or
- The application is considered to be incomplete, and the applicant shall be notified of the basis for this finding; or
- Other such recommended disposition as determined by the representatives of the Finance & Governance Committee.