Durbin: Americans Should Know What Is In Dietary Supplements

Durbin, Braun to introduce legislation to improve safety and ensure transparency of dietary supplement industry

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke on the Senate floor to highlight the Dietary Supplement Listing Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation he will introduce this week with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN). The legislation will require dietary supplement manufacturers to list their products with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as provide basic, common-sense information about ingredients and labels.  This information would then be made available to the public. 


Durbin said, “Seventy percent of people in America take a dietary supplement including me. I also believe that Americans who take vitamins, minerals, and herbs for their health and well-being have a right to know what’s in those supplements. Many people assume that if a product is sold in the United States of America, somebody has inspected it and it must be safe.  Unfortunately, that’s not always true.”


In 1994, Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which provided FDA with the authority to regulate dietary supplements.  However, DSHEA did not require dietary supplement companies to register their products with FDA—leaving the agency without the information to properly use that authority effectively. When the 1994 law passed, there were 4,000 dietary supplements sold in the United States.  Today, the number ranges as high as 80,000 different products.


During his speech, Durbin highlighted a product called tianeptine, marketed as a dietary supplement, which can produce opiate-like effects. Tianeptine is used as a prescription anti-depressant in some nations but is not approved for any use in the U.S. Durbin told the story of a Michigan woman, who used tianeptine to try to kick a 10-year heroin habit, became severely ill, and nearly died. 


The Dietary Supplement Listing Act of 2022 would require companies to provide FDA with vital information about their products, including product names; a list of all ingredients; an electronic copy of the label; allergen statements; health and structure/function claims, and more. This information would be made public to Americans.


Durbin concluded, “Our bill will give the FDA the information it needs to protect Americans from dangerous products being sold as health supplements. Our bill will give them the information and the power. We urge our colleagues to join us in passing it as soon as possible. It is a commonsense, bipartisan comprise that will protect consumers’ health and save lives.”


Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.