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Pros and cons of standards
January 1999

Well-developed and broadly accepted standards provide an easy way of determining if a product is beneficial and safe. They also ensure that a product is manufactured to an acceptable level of high quality.

Standards also have their drawbacks. They can be inflexible and force producers to make products a certain way when other options are just as good, sometimes better, than what a standard dictates. If adopted into law, they become even harder to change, either to meet the demands of the marketplace or to reflect new scientific knowledge.

Standards can be politicized, or unduly influenced by special interests, especially when written into laws and regulations. This can give certain producers or health care providers a monopoly, which drives up prices and which can make products unaffordable to those who would otherwise have the means to buy them. In the extreme case, they can cause a product to be removed from the market, even when it is quite safe. This deprives consumers of the opportunity to benefit from the product and can be financially devastating to producers who have invested in its production.

Some standards provide clear benefits at little cost because they serve an obvious need, are well-established and straightforward, are less controversial, and are therefore easier to establish. These include things like dissolution standards and the inclusion of lot numbers and expiration dates on product labels.

 

   
 

More about standards & regulations:

Industry standards

Creating a quality model for dietary supplements

Different types of standards

Pros and cons of standards

Competing standards

Testing products for quality

Dosage recommendations

Good manufacturing practices (GMPs)

Self-regulatory quality standards

Government regulations

FDA safety monitoring

Federal Trade Commision (FTC)

State laws

Health benefit claims

RDA, DV, and other recommended intake values

Funding of research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Possible future FDA regulations

Possible future Codex regulations

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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.