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Dietary Supplements: Foods, Medicines, or Both? A Controversial Designation with Unspecific Legislation

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Background: Dietary supplements have been widely used among the United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU) population not only as a form of nutrition but also for medicinal purposes. Still, the legislation regulating these supplements remains unclear due to the fact that they can be considered as foodstuffs and/or medicinal products depending on various factors.

Methods: The present review article intends to provide information concerning the variations on the definition of dietary supplements, the allowable substances on it, as well as the marketing and labelling requirements among the USA and the EU legislation.

Results/Conclusions: In fact, several discrepancies can be found between regulations in the USA (mainly regulated by the Food and Drugs Administration) and in the EU (principally regulated by the Food Supplements Directive or by the Directive 2001/83/EC), and even between the different Member States of the EU, with the main differences observed in new products marketing requirements.
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Keywords: Dietary supplements; EU legislation; Food Supplements Directive; Food and Drugs Administration; USA legislation; medicinal products

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2017

This article was made available online on March 29, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Dietary Supplements: Foods, Medicines, or Both? A Controversial Designation with Unspecific Legislation".

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes timely in-depth reviews covering all aspects of current research in rational drug design. Each issue is devoted to a single major therapeutic area. A Guest Editor who is an acknowledged authority in a therapeutic field has solicits for each issue comprehensive and timely reviews from leading researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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