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USA - Does Regulating Dietary Supplements as Food in a World of Social Media Influencers Promote Public Safety?

USA

May 09, 2022

Recent years have seen the rise of influencers—“social media personalities paid to leverage their popularity to market products” —marketing dietary supplements. These supplements, often created and marketed to stimulate weight loss,  include “vitamins, essential minerals, protein, amino acids, and herbs.”  Influencers’ foray into the realm of dietary supplements has had a significant impact on the marketing industry, as demonstrated by their enormous advertising revenue, with estimates that influencer marketing would reach “$10-20 billion in 2020, with close to 80% of brands participating.”  With regard to the regulation of this industry, the federal government plays a role via both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which “both serve to protect consumers by ensuring safe, effective products and accurate marketing to consumers.”  However, the regulatory environment for dietary supplements, which has been criticized as being inadequate in the face of hazards,  has serious pitfalls when confronting promotion of these supplements by social media influencers. This article explores the federal regulatory mechanisms in place to govern dietary supplements and proposes strategies for how US law—both administrative regulation and common law—can strengthen the regulation of dietary supplements in the new era of influencers.

For further information, click on the: https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/does-regulating-dietary-supplements-food-world-social-media-influencers-promote-public-safety/2022-05
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