The Participants Are:
• Mike Greene, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C.
• Mark A. LeDoux, Chairman and CEO, Natural Alternatives International, Carlsbad, CA
• Michael McGuffin, President, American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Washington, D.C.
• Scott C. Tips, JD, President, National Health Federation (NHF), Monrovia, CA
• James S. Turner, JD, Chairman, Citizens for Health, Washington, D.C.
“You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”
This is a quote that, while wrongly attributed to Harry S. Truman, may still well resonate with many industry members who have interacted with legislators and regulators in Washington D.C. and Bethesda, MD, respectively.
Our panels of experts—which represents perspectives from the natural products industry in addition to trade and consumer advocacy organizations—attempts to shed light on current challenges to (and questions about) the industry and its products coming from many quadrants, from critics to bad actors to regulatory rollouts to even a new White House administration’s posture on regulatory burdens.
NIE: In 2017, we, unfortunately lost a number of industry pioneers and health experts, including (but not limited to) Elwood Richard and Jack Challem, respectively. What messages do you have for the next generation of natural products industry leaders?
McGuffin: It is important to know the history of this industry to build on successes and avoid pitfalls that have hampered the industry in the past. The industry has grown and modernized significantly. At the same time, it manages to preserve the values that helped make it so successful. It is important that we don’t lose sight of the aspects of the industry that have helped it grow.
LeDoux: Stop waiting for other people to do the heavy lifting for you. Either get in the game of interfacing with regulators and members of local and federal government officials to help shape our industry and its oversight, or find another line of work.
Remembering that politics is local (a saying coined by late Speaker Tip O’Neill), get engaged, go visit Congressional offices in your district, make a point of joining an industry trade group, visit Washington D.C. and meet your senators or congressman or congresswoman. And do not cut corners, period.”
Turner: It has been, it is true, a painful year for the health-freedom and natural health community in terms of icons who have passed. These losses should inspire us to work all the harder so that the torch of health freedom burns all the brighter for the future generations of leaders and healers and believers in natural health.
NIE: What else would you like to say or add (to perhaps a question that we didn’t ask)?
LeDoux: We have an opportunity to change millions of lives for the better if we do our jobs properly and with the correct blend of altruism and social conscience. The magic bullets of modern medicine are largely expended, so now dealing with health issues that affect longevity and quality of life require our investment of resources and passion. We need to elect people to positions of political authority that understand we are not the enemy, but actually part of the solution of runaway sick-care costs.
The e-commerce industry also needs better oversight by both FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Too many products which contain illegal or banned substances are available routinely online. In order to preserve the reputation of our industry as a place for answers and hope for reducing healthcare related costs, we need to work with the agencies as responsible industry to rid all commerce of illegal products.
Tips: Perhaps Buckminster Fuller said it best when he noted that, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” The existing model of drug health is obsolete.