A Cautious Victory on the Durbin Amendment

imagesThe senator’s latest volley has failed, but we can expect him to introduce something similar at the next opportunity.
Last month we told you about Sen. Dick Durbin’s stealth move against supplements—that he had proposed an amendment to an appropriations (budget) bill, which is a sneaky way of getting controversial laws passed without too much attention.
The amendment would have had the Government Accountability Office (GAO) assess the effectiveness and utility of the FDA’s adverse event reporting (AER) system, report to Congress on what actions FDA is taking to ensure that dietary supplement manufacturers are reporting adverse events, and also report on whether FDA has implemented the recommendations GAO made in its 2009 report on dietary supplements.
What’s especially sneaky about this is that the GAO’s report recommendations include increased supplement labeling regulations—one of the main goals of Sen. Durbin’s dangerous Dietary Supplement Labeling Act. It also recommends making a clear delineation between food and supplements—a first step toward treating supplements as drugs—another major feature of the Durbin bill.
The good news is that this sneaky amendment didn’t make it into the appropriations bill!
The bad news is that Durbin is both powerful and tenacious, and will almost certainly be introducing a bill or amendment that gets the same things accomplished some other way. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation very carefully, so you can take appropriate action.


  1. This is a horrible bill and should never be reconsidered. Somebody should tell Big Pharma to go out and reinvent themselves.

    1. Those to benefit by the control of supplements are 1) physicians (we would need a prescription to obtain therefore requiring an office visit), 2) pharmaceutical companies (they are missing out on a growing segment of self-care – supplements), 3) hospitals/insurance companies (with recommended levels reduced “to be safe,” there would be more illness, i.e. look at the results of studies on vitamin D3 and the affect this relatively inexpensive supplement (sunshine first, supplement second) can have on all aspects of health, i.e. reduction of inflammation, cancer (breast, prostate, colon, pancreatic to name a few), cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, peridontal disease, etc. The FDA recommended dose is 400 IU. Studies have shown, with testing, supplementation safe at 4,000 to 8,000 IU daily. See GrassrootsHealth and Vitamin D Council. I wonder who Senator Durbin is representing.

      1. Half the supplements I’m taking were suggested by my family physician and maybe I’m lucky or it’s just that supplement are VERY safe but I’ve had NO side effects and my health has improved greatly. I called my senator here in Georgia when the request was asked of us supplement users and I’ll do it again. Let’s keep Durbin and the FDA out of our medicine cabinets. Big pharma, like big banks has enough of our money so let us control what we put in our bodies to keep us healthy. If we stay healthy it’s less wear and tear on the medical/Medicare system.

  2. Durbin’s Amendment borders on an atrocity.
    Supplements are not drugs, and should not be treated as drugs.

  3. We’re are all the senator’s constituents and why are they allowing this man to go after the vitamins on behalf of big Pharma. I believe Sen. Durbin should be removed from office, because he obviously has forgotten who he was sent to represent!

  4. Tell the Jerk, NO PROBLEM… We’ll just Grow them in Our Gardens… It donen’t matter how much graft he takes… the american Peope will just Grow their own…

  5. I agree–just follow the $$$$ trail—you’ll see Durbin pocketing big $$$$ from BIG PHARMA–he
    needs to be exposed for the shill he is.
    Glad we have senators that are looking out for “We the little People”–Harkin, Hatch, Kucinich & Ron
    Paul–to name a few.

  6. Has anybody researched if Durbin is in some drug company’s pocket? He must be doing somebody’s bidding. That knowledge exposed and communicated broadly would help to discredit him.

  7. I would like to thank ANH-USA for keeping a watch on such devisive spirits, who would do anything to make a dollar for their friends in the Phamaceutical Industry; even if it mean causing the entire country to get sick with unknown and deadly allergies. Who ever voted this individual in should really rethink their decision the next time his/ her re-election comes around. I pray that this individual would wake up one day and realize that he is a human and can be affected by the many poisons found in our food and medical supplies. Greed is so powerful and no bounds!

  8. Dick Durbin home email is http://www.dickdurbin.com/home Tell him what you think.
    Chicago is his home base. Let his constituents know what he is truly up to. Write letters to the newspapers in Chicago. You can publish in various newspapers, (you need the name) by going to http://publishaletter.com/writeletter
    [email protected]. You may mail letters to: Voice of the
    People, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. You may fax letters to: 312-222-2598.
    The Onion, Chicago Edition, http://www.theonion.com/features/letters-to-the-editor/
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/letters to the editor
    Austin Voice, Chicago Newspaper, 5236 W North Ave Chicago, IL 60639 (773) 889-0880
    Chicago Sun Times, etc.

    1. Thanks for the info on how to reach Sen. Dick Durbin. I left a lengthy comment on his so-called official contact site, which, by the way, only responds to Illinois residents. When I clicked on ‘Submit’, there was a delay and then my email was jettisoned into cyberspace, with the comment that the site couldn’t forward it for some technical reason. This isn’t the first time that a legislator’s ‘official site’ fails. They go through the motions of being responsive, but most objectionable comments never reach them that way. The only other way is to telephone their offices, but be prepared to be questioned as to whether or not you are a resident of their particular state. Unless you are, your input is not important to them. I believe that the only way to really get the attention of legislators like this, is to create a legally recognized petition and send it around the country, BEFORE he regroups and makes another try. I can’t believe that anyone NOT taking graft from Big Pharma, would be so committed to ill health. Vitamins and minerals are the human body’s fuel. It would be like signing on to running a car without fuel and seeing what happens. What happens to the human body is it runs down and dies, eventually.

  9. Thank you for your continuing efforts to protect our access to supplements. I t would be very difficult for us as individuals to keep track of sneaky attemts to block our access to supplements and protest to our representatives in Congress, but you make it easy for us to do that. I am making donations to support your work on our behalf.

  10. Durbin has a state full of constituants who rely on vitamins and a state with health food stores whose ability to do business will be severely curtailed if his love affair with pharma is not exposed to the electorate. They are in the best position to do this on a grassroots level. Most Senators offices will not take your comment if you are not a constituant. Calls to action on a state level will be most effective in getting this pharma prostitute out of office. Let his own business community attack back. If he sells out to pharma at the expense of the health supplement industry…..will your business be his next sell out at your expense!! Put that in his pipe and let him smoke it.

    1. I love all the comments on the sneak attack on supplements by Dick Durbin, but no one has said
      what I’m thinking about the entire situation: we need to recall and dismiss ALL the FDA commissioners. Who are they? Why isn’t that information published where everyone can know who is responsible for the decisions to attack these natural products? I want to know how they get appointed and by whom. Occupy Wall Street is too specific and needs to turn their focus in
      other directions. If I weren’t so old now, I would be right in front with the torch and pitchfork at the
      FDA headquarters, wherever that may be!

  11. Thanks to ANH-USA for info on this issue! I plan to do some writing! I depend on supplements as am chemically sensitive and sure don’t want Big Pharma involved! My Doc said they don’t get trained into nutrition/supplements so I’d need to study/review decide in my own, so that’s what I’ve done.

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