Bill cracks down on supplements

From Times wire reports

The $22-billion-a-year U.S. dietary supplement industry will be required to report consumer side effects from its products under a bill that Congress passed and President Bush is expected to sign.

Supplement manufacturers, including Herbalife Ltd., United Natural Foods Inc., Nature's Sunshine Products Inc. and Usana Health Sciences Inc., will have 15 business days to report adverse events, including death and hospitalization, to the Food and Drug Administration.

Currently the companies are not required to inform the FDA of side effects, although many do so voluntarily.

The legislation was sponsored by Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin, who initially sought more extensive regulation, including safety testing of supplements, when two athletes died after taking the now-banned supplement ephedra.

After strong opposition from supplement makers, Durbin and his cosponsors agreed to limit the measure to the reporting requirement.

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