Republicans are traditionally known for a “less government” attitude. Historically, when they are in power there has generally been less emphasis on enforcing existing regulations or implementing new regulations upon industry. Now that Republicans control the House of Representatives, what direction will regulators take? While the past would seem to indicate that a diminished regulatory atmosphere would be expected, some believe the exact opposite will happen. The theory is that if Congress is preoccupied with gridlock on other major issues, regulators will start to take matters into their own hands. As the dietary supplement industry has been long criticized as insufficiently regulated, it may be the sort of “low hanging fruit” ripe for attention.
On the other hand, now that the Republicans are in power, certain committee chairmanships will now be in Republican hands. The most important committee for the Dietary Supplement industry is the Energy & Commerce Committee. The committee has been chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, a Democrat who has never been predisposed to work with our industry. The new chairman, Michigan Republican Fred Upton, may be more moderate in the regulatory approach taken with respect to our industry.
So, there are arguments that can be made for both a greater and lesser regulatory emphasis in the coming year. But regardless of the direction taken by members of Congress, the fact remains that the relevant agencies (e.g., FDA) are still staffed with Obama appointees who have already shown that they are more aggressive in enforcing the existing regulations. And that is not going to change anytime soon.