Communication on Dietary Supplements Under law in Virginia and Maryland

The FDA regulates safety, manufacturing, and labeling for food additives, and our partners at the FTC are responsible for overseeing the marketing of those products first. The scope of this organization has expanded to cover all FDA centers and regulated products, including the Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements at the CFSAN.

In addition, manufacturers are not required to submit product safety data to FDA before marketing dietary supplements, except when supplements contain a novel dietary ingredient (a dietary ingredient not sold in this country before Oct. 15, 1994) that has not been presented in the food supply as a food-use article in a form where food has not been chemically altered. The basic structure of DSHEA allowed all products marketed as dietary supplements at the time the Act was enacted to remain on the market unless the Food and Drug Administration could show safety problems with a particular product or line of products- this is the so-called grandfather provision; manufacturers must notify the FDA before any new ingredients are marketed. Under the law, dietary supplement manufacturers are not required to demonstrate that their products are safe or effective before marketing.

The DSHEA specifies requirements for dietary supplement labels, including the manufacturer shall have proof when making a statement, establishing that the statement is true and non-misleading, and labels shall include the statement, This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Dietary supplements were used by approximately half of adults (49%), in 2007-2010, though that was somewhat lower than 2003-2006 (53%). Dietary supplements are defined under the Act as products intended to complement the diet; they are not medicines, and are thus not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate, or treat diseases. Americans spent over $30 billion on dietary supplements in 2011. Our findings suggest that adults commonly report using supplements for the purpose of improving or maintaining health; however, the majority of products were used because of personal choice (77%) rather than because of the recommendation of health care providers (23%). Less than one-quarter of the supplements used by adults were recommended by a doctor or health care professional.

Communication on Dietary Supplements

Multivitamin-mineral products remained the most frequently reported type of supplement, used mostly for the purpose of improving health or maintaining health. Previous studies have also shown that supplement users had higher amounts of most vitamins and minerals derived solely from food choices compared with nonusers. Thus, disentangling the effects of healthful dietary choices and lifestyle choices from supplement use is generally challenging in epidemiologic studies. Randomized controlled trials are ideal for investigating supplement use and health outcomes, but often yield inconsistent results. Dietary supplements may have generic health claims, nutrient-content claims, or structural-function claims. Some scientific evidence needs to go only to the Food and Drug Administration to make a strong connection between supplement use and lowered disease risk. Exacerbating the present regulatory constraints is the spread of influencer marketing (i.e., giving or receiving compensation in exchange for endorsements of products through social media),1 which has made it easier to make false or misleading claims about dietary supplements in order to promote their purchase and use, and to influence consumer trends.

If claims are realized, then as influencers shift to protect their own revenue, they are less likely to target brands with unscrupulous marketing strategies or unfounded claims, leading to less effective or unsafe supplements being promoted to consumers via social media. While it is unlikely to be as effective as regulation or law enforcement changes, there is reason to think using deceptive portrayals to discourage influencers from selling potentially ineffective or dangerous supplements will benefit consumers. The FDA regulates dietary supplement quality, safety, and labeling, while the Federal Trade Commission oversees advertising and marketing; however, vast challenges to enforcement remain, and the best government oversight has yet to be achieved. The number of dietary supplements sold in the U.S. has increased substantially since the enactment of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), rising from approximately 4,000 in 1994, when the act went into effect, to over 90,000 in 2014.

Marylands WIC program provides healthy dietary supplements and breastfeeding support for pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to five years old. Such services shall include those covered by a State Medical Assistance Service Plan or Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) program, and shall include provisions to pay medical assistance for medical services provided via telehealth services. No provider who provides medical services via telehealth services shall be required to use patented technologies or applications in order to receive reimbursement for providing telehealth services. SS 23-99-418 (2011) provides that, beginning January 1, 2014, insofar as such provisions require benefits exceeding the essential health benefits specified under the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The essential health benefits specified under the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The benefits exceeding the essential health benefits are not required to be provided by an indemnity health plan when a health insurance carrier offers such a plan in the State through the State-based medical exchange. SS 23-99-418 (2011) defines generally recognized services as including applied behavioral analysis, speech, occupational, and physical therapy; medications or nutritional supplements; and other treatments. Audio-only services The additions in Telehealth Addendums include definitions of telehealth visit services, identification of covered codes, specification of reimbursability requirements, and itemization of billing details under the fee-for-service (FFS) system. As noted in the Telehealth Supplement (Appendix A), all FFS claims for Audio Only codes must be submitted directly to the DMAS, including those provided within the context of mental health and substance use disorders services.