In honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Representatives Tim Ryan and Nita Lowey introduced the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act in order to make it easier to identify gluten in drug products. This legislation requires that drugs intended for human use have a label containing an identification of ingredients constituting or derived from a grain or starch.
This legislation is crucial for the millions of Americans affected by this life-long digestive disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten or wheat grain products. According to the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease has increased by as much as four times in the last decade and affects three million Americans. The standard treatment for celiac disease is the elimination of gluten-containing products; and for some individuals, failure to avoid these can cause life-threatening complications.
"Celiac disease is a growing issue for our country and as elected officials it is our duty to give those affected all the resources they need to treat their disease. The United States already mandates that food products containing wheat are adequately labeled and there is no reason why we shouldn't do the same for our medications. I am proud to introduce legislation that can help avert the serious health risk millions of Americans are forced to endure every day while taking unlabeled, potentially harmful medications," said Congressman Ryan (OH-13).
"For millions of Americans, avoiding gluten is a medical necessity. Just as consumers deserve to know if their food contains gluten, it is critical that consumers know if medications contain gluten," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), the Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee. "This legislation would help protect Americans' health by giving them information on the label to ensure their medications help -- not hurt -- them," said Congresswoman Lowey (NY-17)
"This legislation would provide individuals with celiac disease and food allergies with vitally important information to manage their health. It is a simple, cost-effective measure that will ensure prescription medications are, in fact, safe for millions of Americans," noted Beth Hillson, President of the American Celiac Disease Alliance. "We applaud Representatives Ryan and Lowey for their leadership in sponsoring the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act."
The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act has been endorsed by: American Celiac Disease Alliance, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Celiac Disease Foundation, Celiac Sprue Association, Gluten Intolerance Group, North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and the American College of Gastroenterology.