By Mark Land, AAHP President
As challenges continue into 2022, so will opportunities. COVID-19 heightened the awareness and value of many OTC and self-care products, including homeopathic medicines, as consumers endeavored to shake-off common treatable conditions and keep their immune system high. As the importance of maintaining access to homeopathic OTCs during the past two years became apparent, so did the importance of ensuring quality manufacturing and safe products for consumers and healthcare providers. This will remain AAHP’s top priority. As we look ahead, we also review the new resources made available to the industry by AAHP in 2021.
Events: Education and Networking
Beyond reinforcing our industry’s knowledge and compliance, AAHP’s 10 events in 2021 strengthened relations with FDA, major retailers, and other significant organizations.
- Poison Control: Information for Homeopathic Product Safety Stakeholder by National Capital Poison Control (Feb. 9)
- AAHP Annual Membership Meeting with updates from AAHP Legal Counsel Al Lorman and AAHP Lobbyist Pete Evich (March 4)
- State of Homeopathic Research by Homeopathic Research Institute’s Rachel Roberts (March 4)
- Annual Executive Briefing with Meijer’s Jenn Martin, The Emerson Group’s Mark Schumacher, and Hyland’s Les Hamilton (March 23)
- HPUS Updates by Eric Foxman (May 6)
- AAHP Summit, Part Two with FDA’s Rik Lostritto, Boiron France’s Isabelle Channel, consultants Nelly Bibak and Adam Grobin, and HPUS’s Bill Shevin (June 15)
- AAHP Industry Reception with Meijer’s Jenn Martin, Omnicom Commerce Group’s Bryan Gildenberg, and The Emerson Group’s Natalie Ryan and Jen Beatty (Sept. 23)
- AAHP Semiannual Membership Meeting (Oct. 3)
- GMP Compliance Seminar by EAS Consulting Group with FDA’s Rik Lostritto (Nov. 10)
- Meeting FDA’s New Annual Reporting Requirement by FDA Connect’s Leonard Krause (Dec. 10)
Information on Issues Affecting Your Business
Some of the timely and insightful alerts sent to members and sometimes the industry at large included the following in 2021:
- A summary of FDA’s enforcement action against homeopathic injectable products and MediNutura lawsuit against the agency (including last year AAHP’s frank discussions with the Office of Compliance that revealed the agency’s concern about safety).
- Concerning action by the Canadian government.
- FDA’s Public Service Announcement on cough and cold products for children under the age of 4.
Members also had full access to the 40+ articles (some restrict from non-members) published in the monthly newsletter on regulatory issues, compliance, and manufacturing best practices. Listed below are 2021’s most popular articles.
1. 50 years a Homeopath: Interview with Eric Foxman
2. Dilution Process Validation Is Complex and Data Drive
3. AAHP Disclaimer Helps Win Two Lawsuits
4. International Coalition of Homeopathic Associations
5. Member’s Heads-Up on Two New Hot FDA Announcements
Regulators and Legislators: Educating to Protect Your Environment
During the seven years of regulatory review of homeopathic products, AAHP has made every effort to ensure a favorable regulatory climate for our products while maintaining public safety. As the temperature subsides, the association’s focus has been shifted to building compliance and building a relationship with FDA by working on regulatory and technical ambiguity in the manufacturing process.
In 2021, AAHP furthered relations with FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) by involving the office as industry defines compliance solutions related to the agency’s enforcement priorities. FDA also approved a speaker at two of AAHP’s 2021 educational events— fostering dialog more between the industry and agency.
Additionally, our Congressional education campaign was reactivated after COVID-19 shut down Capitol Hill. With a Congressional position paper and list of 60 key Congressional offices, AAHP met virtually with health staff in the offices of Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Mike Lee (R-UT), and Representatives Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-5th), Gus Bilarakis (R-FL-12th), and Tony Cardenas (D-CA-29th). Value was added by pulling in local constitutes/AAHP members.
AAHP continues to respond to many questions about the FDA guidance from retailers, other associations, consumers, and healthcare providers to calm and stabilize markets.
Stimulating Retailer Relations
For the third year, manufacturing sales executives connected with retail buyers AAHP’s Retailer Reception. Jenn Martin of Meijer, Inc was presented this year’s Integrative Medicine Award. Collectively five staff from CVS and Rite Aid attended and mingled with an intimate group of AAHP members.
Trade press ads encouraged retailer confidence in, acceptance, and understanding of homeopathic products, courtesy of our sponsor The Emerson Group.
Thank You for Another Successful Year
AAHP welcomed new leaders at several member companies and one new affiliate member company, CoMED Health. Our invitations to potential members or allied associations as one-time guests at committee meetings mutually benefitted both parties with new information. AAHP increasingly is exchanging information with the homeopathic community at large and responding to questions via its social media platforms.
I’d like to thank the volunteers from several companies and industry consultants who gave many hours toward organizing events, openly sharing priority information, and attending board and committee meetings to improve our industry for the benefit of everyone.