WHAT IS THE GLUTEN IN MEDICINE DISCLOSURE ACT?
Representative Tim Ryan (Ohio) has put forward H.R. 2074, the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2019. The intent is:
“To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the label of a drug that is intended for human use and contains an ingredient that is derived directly or indirectly from a gluten-containing grain to identify each such ingredient, and for other purposes.”
How fantastic is that?!?!? It currently has 10 cosponsors from the states of CA, FL, MA, IL, MN, OK, and TN. You can find current cosponsors here.
If your state isn’t on there, call or email your representative and tell them to get on board!!
WHY DO CELIACS NEED A GLUTEN IN MEDICINE DISCLOSURE ACT?
To quote the office of Tim Ryan: “In 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act required packaged food labels to identify all ingredients containing wheat and other allergens. This requirement does not extend to prescription drugs.
After repeated efforts to shed light on thisissue, the FDA released draft guidance in 2017 encouraging drug manufacturers to disclose the presence of gluten.
While some manufacturers have taken this step, it has not been implemented consistently. This leads to anxiety of not knowing whether or not your medicine is doing more harm than good.”
In 2013 the food and drug administration (FDA) issued a final ruling defining the term “gluten free” for food labeling and for vitamin and supplement labeling. But as stated above, there is no such ruling in place for medication.
The draft FDA labeling guidelines for pharmaceuticals are not binding. Companies can claim medicines are gluten free, and since that term is not codified or regulated, it doesn’t mean anything.
I would hope (as would we all) that the potentially detrimental financial and brand ramifications of misrepresenting that information would be enough incentive for these companies to be diligent and thorough in their claims.
However, this isn’t always the case. In fact there are many instances (such as Tylenol) where companies have claimed their products are gluten free, only to later say, “just kidding!”
WHY DO WE NEED TO ACT?
Tim Ryan, bless him (all political leanings aside, I’m simply grateful for the advocacy), has tried to get this bill passed previously and was unsuccessful. Getting it past committee is very challenging.
But he’s trying AGAIN! Let’s support him this time by making our need for this known to our representatives. You can find your representative here.
WHAT DO I SAY TO MY REPRESENTATIVE?
If you want to send an email, but have no idea what to say, here are the basics:
- Say who you are—name and address at a minimum (this is your proof that you’re a constituent and that they should listen to you). You can also include your phone number if you’d like.
- Say why you’re writing—“I’m writing to request you support H.R. 2074, the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2019.”
- State your credentials—basically that you’ve been living with celiac disease for xx amount of time, or whatever information is true for you.
- State that you are a constituent, and if you voted for them or donated, definitely mention that too!
- Stick to facts—I know this can be an emotional subject, but be calm and logical in how you present your case.
- Be detailed and specific—explain how this affects you and those around you.
- When you close your email, restate the action you want them to take (support H.R. 2074, the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act of 2019) and thank them for taking the time to consider what you’ve said.
- Try to be succinct—short and to the point is ideal.
Let’s do our best to make this happen!
If you’re looking for more articles like this, check out Are Gluten Free Pain Relievers Too Much to Ask?