How the Government Shutdown Can Affect Supplement Manufacturing

The effects of the government shutdown reached all of us, and in ways you might not expect. The nutritional supplement industry, for example, is struggling with the effects of the government shutdown as it just begins to recover from limited interaction with the government. Here’s how the supplement industry has been affected, and what you’d expect to see in the industry should such a shut-down take place again.

various dietary pillsInspections Halted
First of all, the Food and Drug Administration halted inspections of supplement facilities for the time the government was shut down. This is a severe blow, not least because many supplement facilities, while they keep their product to the highest standards possible, rely on FDA inspections to ensure the public feels safe in consuming their supplement.

Many manufacturers in the nutritional supplement industry are worried about the public perception of putting products on the shelves without FDA inspection. Shipments were delayed from many manufacturers — and may even have been halted entirely — as an effect of the government shutdown, causing shortages of some supplements and even putting the ability of smaller supplement companies at risk.

Lack of Adverse Reaction Reporting
Supplement manufacturers work hard to ensure that their product is healthy, but they’re also well aware that even the best clinical trial will only uncover so much data. For example, Viagra was a thoroughly-tested medication that received the best possible marks and was released for public consumption. .. but a very small percentage of users, (too small for the clinical trials to find), became deaf when they took the drug. Supplement manufacturers keep this at the forefront of their minds when designing and issuing any product and check adverse reports as they come in.

As a result, pharmaceutical companies and companies in the nutritional supplement industry rely heavily on the FDA’s adverse reaction reporting from doctors, consumers, and supplement firms themselves. This information is crucial to updating label information and informing consumers of potential issues with dietary supplements. Without that support network, many supplement companies will be acting carefully, and will err towards public health over profit, delaying the release of new products and possibly even withholding recent products from shelves until they can look through the data reported to the FDA.

Import Delays
Finally, the effects of the government shutdown resulted in many supplement companies that import products or raw materials keeping those products off shelves or off the line out of safety concerns. The FDA inspects any supplements that are gel caps tablets capsulesshipped from overseas, and serves as a “back-up” to the supplement manufacturer’s own strict safety protocols, both in America and overseas. While it’s extremely unlikely that any supplement shipped in presents even a minor danger, most supplement manufacturers don’t like even the smallest percentage of risk.

What This All Means For Supplements
First of all, it means, unfortunately, shortages. Many companies in the nutritional supplement industry have shut down manufacturing lines or will be withholding any product, and it’s going to take time to get supplements back on the shelves.

This will also mean a negative impact, possibly a strong one, on the bottom line of supplement companies for this fiscal year; two weeks not selling products is going to be hard on any company. Finally, long-term, it means that fewer new products will be coming to nutritional supplement industry market; with an enormous testing and adverse reporting backlog to wade through, the FDA may not get to new products in a while.

For more information on this issue, check out Natural News Insider’s full report.

Photo credits: Shannonkringen, jypsygen