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McCain Backs Away From His Own Vitamin Bill

March 9, 2010 - by Eric Naing

After receiving pushback from Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT], Sen. John McCain [R, AZ] has pulled his support for his own bill regulating vitamin supplement manufacturers. Some of Hatch’s biggest donors, of course, are in the vitamin supplement industry.

I’ve covered this issue before but the condensed version is that McCain recently introduced a bill (S.3002) that would give the Food and Drug Administration greater authority to regulate the sale of vitamin supplements. McCain’s bill represents a significant overhaul of the current Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which allows vitamin supplements to be categorized as food instead of medicine and therefore receive less thorough regulation.

Last week, McCain’s office confirmed that McCain had withdrawn his support for his own bill after discussing the issue with Sen. Hatch. A letter from Hatch thanking McCain can be seen here (PDF warning) via Over the Counter Today.

Hatch and Sen. Tom Harkin [D, IA] both helped craft the supplement industry-friendly DSHEA in 1994 and are two of the law’s biggest defenders in Congress. Both Hatch and Harkin are also two of the biggest recipients of campaign dollars from the vitamin supplement industry.

Since 1989, dietary supplement manufacturer Herbalife International has been Sen. Harkin’s top campaign donor. And in the current campaign cycle, supplement manufacturers such as XanGo LLC, Herbalife and Nu Skin Enterprises have given tens of thousands of dollars to Hatch.

McCain is reportedly working with Hatch to craft a new vitamin supplements measure that lacks the regulatory teeth of his previous bill.

For more information on this issue check out our wiki page. And if you can, take the time to add any other information you might have to it.

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