DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: Hatch Disputes Athlete’s Charges
Responding to assertions by world champion shot putter C.J. Hunter that his pre-Olympics positive steroid test stemmed from taking an over-the-counter iron supplement, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has issued a statement saying that a 1994 law he backed "should have allowed Hunter to know exactly what he was taking and...prevented steroid-like substances from being marketed as dietary supplements," the Deseret News reports. Hunter, the husband of Olympic track and field star Marion Jones, tested positive four times over the summer for nandrolone, a banned steroid, and his announcement Tuesday sparked a "flurry of phone calls" to Hatch's office about the safety of dietary supplements. Hatch is the "chief defender in Congress" of the dietary supplement industry, the Deseret News reports, adding that the senator receives significant contributions from supplement manufacturers. In 1994, Hatch "blocked" former FDA Commissioner David Kessler's attempts to regulate supplements as drugs, pushing a law through Congress to stipulate instead that the products be regulated as foods. Hatch said that the law mandates "that in order to be considered a dietary supplement, a product must list the name of each ingredient and the quantity of each such ingredient. If the ingredients aren't listed, then the product is illegal and the FDA should take it off the market." He added that marketing steroid-like supplements is generally illegal, and that nandrolone is a controlled substance "in no way considered a dietary supplement" (Davidson, Deseret News, 9/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.