McCain bill would force labeling of supplements
Sen. John McCain has introduced legislation requiring
manufacturers of dietary supplements to register with the Food and
Drug Administration and to disclose the ingredients.
The Arizona Republican says that, if passed, the measure would
give the FDA authority for a mandatory recall if a product is found
to be unsafe.
“All we’re saying is, list the ingredients, OK?” McCain told
The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. “And
register so people will know what they’re taking into their bodies.
It’s not really outrageous when you think about it.”
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig urged adoption of the bill,
which is co-sponsored by North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan.
Several athletes who have tested positive under various drug
programs have blamed their troubles on unlabeled substances in
McCain, an ardent sports fan, has long lamented steroid use in
He said his bill would protect professional and Olympic athletes
as well as casual sports participants who turn to supplements to
boost their performance.
“Obviously, it would affect everybody because they’re so
dangerous,” McCain said. “We’ve had amateur athletes die. It’s
not as if it isn’t dangerous.”
McCain introduced the bill on Wednesday in Washington. Among
those appearing with McCain were Kicker Vencill, an elite-level
swimmer who missed the 2004 Olympic trials after testing positive
for performance-enhancing drugs when he took a tainted
multivitamin. Vencill ended up winning damages through litigation
against the supplement company, but it didn’t overturn his
suspension or save his chance at the Olympics.
McCain said the proposed legislation “appears to the casual
observer as something that’s a no-brainer,” but he added that he
expects heavy resistance from the dietary supplement industry.
McCain cited a Government Accountability Office report that says
“FDA has limited information on the companies and products it is
required to regulate, and more complete information could help FDA
analyze adverse event reports.”
The FDA also lacks mandatory recall authority. The proposed
legislation would provide it.
McCain said his bill “absolutely” would have allowed the FDA
to recall ephedra immediately when its adverse effects became
known. Ephedra was linked to the deaths of Vikings lineman Korey
Stringer and Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.