Industry Coalition Reminds Consumers, Retailers that Dietary Supplements May Not Claim to Cure, Prevent Coronavirus

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Industry Coalition Reminds Consumers, Retailers that Dietary Supplements May Not Claim to Cure, Prevent Coronavirus

Some marketers of dietary supplements or other products may be promoting them with claims of prevention or treatment of Coronavirus

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. dietary supplement industry is aware of the growing concern regarding the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and of the public’s desire to protect itself against the virus.

The four leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry support the responsible sale and use of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements that provide many positive benefits promoting better health and wellness. However, we are concerned that some marketers of dietary supplements or other products may be promoting them with claims of prevention or treatment of Coronavirus.

While research supports the use of certain dietary supplements to maintain immune system health, we are not aware of clinical research that demonstrates using a dietary supplement specifically to prevent or to treat the Novel Coronavirus. Even if research is conducted and published on the topic, the law that regulates dietary supplements, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, prohibits marketers of dietary supplements in the United States from promoting any dietary supplement product that makes disease prevention or treatment claims.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) are therefore endorsing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements:

  • Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements should refuse to stock or sell any supplements that are presented as treating, curing or preventing Coronavirus.
  • Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a cure, treatment or prevention for Coronavirus.
  • Consumers should avoid any product that is claiming to treat, cure or prevent Coronavirus and report such products to the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Anyone who believes they may have Coronavirus or may have come in contact with Coronavirus should contact a healthcare professional immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on Coronavirus and the proper actions to take if you suspect you are ill.

While there is well established research demonstrating how dietary supplements can play a role in supporting immune health, direction for prevention and/or treatment of Coronavirus should come from qualified healthcare professionals or public health authorities. Each trade association and its member companies prioritizes the safety and well-being of consumers above all else. The responsible industry is committed to providing the public with safe, high-quality dietary supplement products that provide many positive benefits to promote better health and wellness.

Michael McGuffin, President
American Herbal Products Association

Scott Melville, President and CEO
Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Steve Mister, President and CEO
Council for Responsible Nutrition

Loren Israelsen, President
United Natural Products Alliance

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The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal and botanical products industry. AHPA is comprised of more than 300 domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: www.ahpa.org.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices. Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system more than $7, contributing a total of $146 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to empowering consumer self-care by preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare products. Visit www.chpa.org.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit www.crnusa.org. Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements, and LinkedIn.

The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an international trade association representing nearly 120 leading natural products, dietary supplement, functional food, scientific and technology and related service companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability. Founded in Utah in 1992, UNPA was instrumental in the passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and continues to take a leadership position in legislative and regulatory issues and industry best practices. Visit www.unpa.com. Follow us on twitter @UNPANational and LinkedIn.

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