How safe are herbal dietary supplements?
The manufacture of herbal dietary supplements is regulated by the FDA in the United States, but is not subject to the same scientific scrutiny or regulations as food or drugs. For instance, herbal supplements manufacturers are required to follow good manufacturing practices in order to ensure that supplements are processed under uniform conditions and meet quality standards but they do not need approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before launching their products in the market.
Nevertheless, the FDA regulates both dietary ingredients and finished dietary supplements. The FDA oversees dietary supplements under a different set of mandates than those that cover conventional foods and drugs. These are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which states that:
- Dietary ingredients and dietary supplements that are adulterated or misbranded are prohibited to be marketed by product manufacturers and distributors.
- FDA is responsible for taking action against any misbranded or adulterated dietary supplements after it is introduced in the market.
What are the core factors driving the growth of the vitamins and herbal dietary supplements market?
The demand for safe and naturally derived curative options persists among consumers. Consumers are more inclined towards the purchase of herbal products combined with government support for promoting the use of traditional medicine. For instance, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, and several other indigenous medicines are increasing their impact. Furthermore, the rising healthcare cost is also favoring the growth of the vitamins and herbal dietary supplements market as consumers are seeking alternate options for medical conditions.
There are several reasons for taking vitamin supplements, such as over-the-counter multivitamins. As per the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), vitamin supplements are recommended to be taken for:
- Certain health conditions.
- Individuals who eat a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Yes. Traditional herbal medicines for human use are as much regulated as pharmaceutical products. A simplified registration procedure for the pharmaceutical legislation of traditional herbal medicinal products was introduced in 2004 that overcame the difficulties encountered by the member states earlier. The objective of the simplified registration procedure is to safeguard public health and eliminate misinterpretations and uncertainties about traditional botanical products that existed among the member states and allow the free movement of these products by introducing harmonized rules in the region. This has reverberated in the form of increased sales of herbal supplements and botanicals and many new companies have entered the dietary supplements space.
The vitamins, minerals, and health supplements market is highly fragmented and has immense opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. In recent years, both pharmaceutical companies and makers of consumer packaged goods (CPG) are gearing up to expand their consumer health division, which suggests that acquisitions in this space will continue to happen.