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Educate Your Patients to Beware of Fraudulent Ebola Claims

800px-Ebola_virus_virionIndustry Coalition Reminds Consumers, Retailers Dietary Supplements Cannot Claim to Cure, Prevent Ebola Virus

Washington, D.C., October 7, 2014—The dietary supplement industry is aware of public concern regarding the Ebola virus (“Ebola virus disease”) and of the desire of the public to protect itself against this virus. The trade associations of the dietary supplement industry support the responsible sale and use of health-promoting vitamins, minerals, herbs and other dietary supplements. We are unaware of any scientific data supporting the use of dietary supplements to prevent Ebola virus infection or treat Ebola virus disease. Furthermore, federal law does not allow dietary supplements to claim to treat any diseases, including Ebola virus disease.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) are therefore endorsing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements:

  • Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any supplements that are presented as treating or curing Ebola virus disease, or preventing Ebola virus infection.
  • Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a cure or treatment for Ebola virus disease.
  • Anyone who believes they may have Ebola virus disease or may have come in contact with the Ebola virus should contact a healthcare professional immediately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on Ebola virus disease and the proper actions to take if you suspect you are ill.

While there are many dietary supplements that have much to offer in terms of enhancing general immune function, therapies for the treatment of Ebola virus disease should only be recommended by qualified healthcare professionals or public health authorities.

The organizations supporting this advisory represent the majority of dietary supplement manufacturers. Each of the associations and its member companies remain committed to providing the American public with high-quality products for supporting personal health and permitting “self-care” choices. Each of the associations is also committed to recognizing that self-care is discouraged for some health conditions. The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease is such a condition.

Michael McGuffin, President
American Herbal Products Association

Scott Melville, President and CEO
Consumer Healthcare Products Association

Steve Mister, President and CEO
Council for Responsible Nutrition

Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO
Natural Products Association

Loren Israelsen, President
United Natural Products Alliance


The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal and botanical products industry. AHPA is comprised of more than 300 domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: www.ahpa.org.

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the 133-year-old-trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.Every dollar spent by consumers on OTC medicines saves the U.S. healthcare system $6-$7, contributing a total of $102 billion in savings each year. CHPA is committed to promoting the increasingly vital role of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements in America’s healthcare system through science, education, and advocacy. Visitwww.chpa.org and www.otcsafety.org.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers.  In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit www.crnusa.org

The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the trade association representing the entire natural products industry. We advocate for our members who supply, manufacture and sell natural ingredients or products for consumers. The Natural Products Association promotes good manufacturing practices as part of the growth and success of the industry. Founded in 1936, NPA represents over 2,000 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. Visit www.NPAinfo.org.

The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an association representing many leading natural products, dietary supplement, functional food and analytical and technology companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability. Founded in Utah in 1991, UNPA was instrumental in the passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and continues to take a leadership position in regulatory issues and industry best practices. Visit www.unpa.com.

Image Courtesy CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith


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