Natural Product Association’s 2019 in Review

Natural Product Association’s 2019 in Review

Dear Natural Products Association (NPA) Members,

Thank you for your 2019 NPA membership. With your passion for the industry, support and efforts we achieved great successes in 2019.

2019: CBD Hits the Mainstream
2019 will be remembered as the year Cannabidiol (CBD) hit the American mainstream. From Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream to pet food and hand lotions to vape pens, CBD is everywhere we look. Which is why it is easy to understand why the majority of Americans believe that CBD products are legal and regulated.

A Natural Products Association (NPA) poll found that 67% of people did not know or were not sure that CBD products being sold today are illegal and 41% wrongly assumed FDA had already developed safety standards for CBD. Despite Americans’ uncertainty, the market for CBD products in the U.S. is booming.

This has been a top priority in 2019 and NPA is the only trade association to have secured legislation on the issue. We worked with Congressman McNerney (D-CA) on an amendment that passed the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Appropriations Committee and would appropriate $100,000 for the FDA to perform a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) and set a safe level of consumption for CBD. The future of the U.S. hemp and CBD industries are directly tied to smart regulations for CBD, which includes FDA establishing a safe level of CBD for consumers, so they are protected.

This position on CBD has momentum. For example, the New Jersey Senate unanimously passed a resolution urging FDA to set a safe level for CBD consumers. NPA has participated in countless meetings at the FDA and other agencies, and our grassroots network has sent thousands of letters to Congress in support of our position on CBD.

For 2019 however, Congress chose to go a different route in funding FDA’s work on CBD. In its year-end spending package, Congress punted on legislation and offered conference report language that directs FDA funding for research, policy evaluation, market surveillance and enforcement discretion related to CBD and hemp. Unlike legislation, the conference report does not have the force of law. Congress protected the status quo. NPA will continue to fight for strong safety standards and a clear path to CBD access and safety in 2020.

2019 also brought challenges and successes in NPA’s work to protect the natural products industry’s interests.

Protecting Patent Eligibility
In a landmark decision in March of this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled to protect patent eligibility for natural products. The case sets important precedent for “law of nature exceptions” that otherwise could have invalidated patents for natural products. This one of the biggest issues the industry faces protecting patents for natural products companies will lead to more innovation and more choices for consumers.

With the departure of longtime friend and champion Senator Orrin Hatch, party change in the House of Representatives and 100+ new Members of Congress, 2019 was all about building relationships. This year Natural Products Day attendance demonstrated yet again that NPA is the strongest advocacy force in the industry.

Bad ideas don’t just happen in Washington, D.C., we’ve remained diligent on the state level as well. In February, we defeated a proposal in the Massachusetts State House that would have prevented young people in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from purchasing products like protein powder and put other popular supplements under lock and key. This fall, NPA testified in an Oregon Department of Justice hearing to discuss a health claims proposal that would confuse consumers, raise costs for taxpayers and do nothing to protect public health.

Access to Supplements
Americans need more ways to save money in their preventative health care. Yet currently, an outdated administrative change to the tax code prevents people from using their tax-deferred health care dollars for nutritional supplements like calcium or vitamin C. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could modernize this section once again to empower consumers. With that in mind, we worked with U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA) and others who last month called on the IRS to designate dietary supplements that carry health or structure/function claims eligible “medical expenses” for HSAs, FSAs and HRAs. This simple change in our regulations would promote the proactive, preventive approach America needs to help consumers make the most of their health and reduce healthcare costs.

Regulatory Issues
DSHEA celebrated 25 years this fall and with it comes further speculation on DSHEA 2.0. However, before we push for modernization, FDA should use its current authority in the interest of consumer safety. Adulterated ingredients that have not completed the required NDI process are entering our country and it has been approximately six years since FDA produced any dietary supplement import alerts to prevent this. FDA’s inaction puts American consumers at risk and compliant U.S. supplement makers at a terrible disadvantage.

NPA has worked with the Trump Administration since September of 2018 to secure an exclusion process. Our natural products grassroots network sent thousands of letters to Congress and it will continue to be important for the industry to engage on this issue.

Promoting Global Benchmarks
NPA supported the Supplement Safety & Compliance Initiative (SSCI)’s retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and other stakeholders’ completion of benchmarks that recognize and ensure common safety standards throughout the supply chain to enhance consumer safety, an important step in SSCI’s mission.

NPA also earned observer status during upcoming Codex Alimentarius Commission meetings, and was the 158th non-governmental organization (NGO) to receive this status worldwide. Recognition as a Codex Alimentarius Observer means NPA will contribute its expertise to the development of health standards worldwide.

NPA continues to be the largest and oldest nonprofit dedicated to the natural products industry and we expect great things in 2020 as we to work hard in support of our members.

What else?
Thanks to your passion, action and engagement, NPA is proud to be the largest and oldest nonprofit dedicated to the natural products industry. We expect great things in 2020 as we to work hard in support of our members.

In addition to your continued membership, you can help ensure elected officials and others understand the positive role natural products play in hundreds of thousands of American lives each day:

  1. Get the latest natural products industry and advocacy news via NPA’s social media channels         
  2. Contribute to our industry Political Action Committee (PAC). The NPA PAC helps you maximize your resources and speak with once voice alongside others in the industry. Your dollars support pro-business, pro-sensible regulation representatives that will speak for and protect the interests of the natural products industry on Capitol Hill.
  3. Send us a note when your organization is announcing exciting news. We want to hear about your growth. When possible, we’d also love to re-share your news with our networks on social media.
  4. Send us your cell phone number for NPA’s industry action alerts. We’ll make it easy for you to educate your elected officials on the priorities and realities of the natural products industry.
  5. Look out for more information to come regarding 2020 committee engagement opportunities, Natural Products Day and The Big Natural.