Retired Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah passed away at age 88 in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 23, due to complications of a stroke he suffered on April 15.
The longest serving Republican and the sixth longest-serving senator in the history of the Senate, Sen. Hatch served a 42-year-long, seven-term career, which began in 1977 and continued until his retirement in 2019. He is widely known for his profound impact on the natural products industry. He formed and led the Dietary Supplement Caucus in the Senate, co-authored the landmark legislation that established a rational framework for regulating dietary supplements, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
Sen. Hatch also played a critical role in passing the Nonprescription Drug & Dietary Supplement Consumer Protection Act of 2006; enacting the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011; and shepherding the passage of the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014—all of which strengthened consumer confidence in dietary supplements. He used his considerable influence to prod U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue final Current Good Manufacturing Practices regulations in 2007 and to elevate FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs to Office status in 2016, both of which strengthened FDA’s oversight of dietary supplements that nearly 76 percent of Americans turn to for better health and wellness.
“We lost a friend and a giant of the natural products industry,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president, and CEO of the Natural Products Association (NPA). “His service to the United States of America and Utah is second to none. Senator Hatch was an incredibly compassionate man who was an exemplary model for working across the aisle. No other individual has left a greater impact on the dietary supplement industry. From his authoring of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act to his active engagement and open-door policy with industry stakeholders, he was a titan for all-natural products industry stakeholders big or small.”
“Senator Hatch was a tremendous statesman and champion for the dietary supplement industry,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). “Our members and dietary supplement consumers owe him immeasurable gratitude for his unwavering support for this industry and his tenacious defense of the ability of consumers to make their own decisions about their health regimens and to have access to these products. It is no overstatement to say that the industry as it exists today was brought into being by Senator Hatch and his Democratic counterpart, Senator Tom Harkin. The two founding fathers of this industry co-sponsored and championed the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994, recognized as the foundational law for today’s supplement industry.”
Mister continued, “Under DSHEA, the supplement marketplace has grown from a $4 billion to a $56 billion dollar industry. He continued to support and defend the industry through co-sponsorship of the law creating mandatory adverse event reporting for dietary supplements in 2006, and gave his support for other initiatives still being debated today, such as including supplements in reimbursable healthcare expenses and establishing mandatory product listing … While we mourn his loss and extend our deepest heartfelt sympathies to his family, friends and staff, we know we are all also much indebted to his legacy.”
Hatch is survived by his wife, Elaine Hansen; his sons, Brent, Scott and Jess; his daughters, Marcia Whetton, Kimberly Catron and Alysa Whitlock; his sisters, Jessica Cluff and Frances Merrill; 23 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren.