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The SUNSET Rule And What It Means For Your Health And Safety

The SUNSET Rule And What It Means For Your Health And Safety

I recently wrote a blog about the lack of FDA regulations on vitamins and supplements. Franky, I was shocked to learn that due to the lack of oversight on these products; many vitamins and supplements are at best, ineffective and at worst, dangerous. 

Yesterday, I learned about a lawsuit that was filed in California challenging a Trump administration rule that was finalized the day before President Biden’s inauguration. The rule is known as: Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely or the SUNSET rule for short.

What is the SUNSET Rule?

According to NPR:

In short, the rule requires the Department of Health and Human Services — which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health — to review all 18,000 existing agency regulations, within several years.

If a review of a rule isn’t completed in the required time frame, it will automatically expire. The SUNSET rule states that its aim is to “ensure the Department’s regulations are having appropriate impacts and have not become outdated.”

According to the NRDC, The Sunset Rule will affect: 

  • Tribal governments’ programs related to child welfare, healthcare, and public health.
  • Regulations that ensure access to vaccines. 
  • Regulations that ensure safe and effective pediatric medicines/therapies, and allow children to access high-quality, affordable healthcare.
  • Regulations that protect youth from being targeted with advertising for flavored e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  • Thousands of critical FDA regulations including: food safety regulations that give consumers confidence that they can purchase food without contracting a deadly foodborne disease.
  • Regulations to guard against antibiotic resistance. 
  • Regulations limiting the presence of arsenic in bottled water.

Why did the Trump Administration Create the SUNSET Rule?

In general, Republicans have embraced deregulation as a way to boost the economy and reduce the government’s role in the affairs of business. The Trump administration took this concept and ran with it! Over the course of Trump’s presidency he passed a number of orders and acts in an effort to deregulate business.

The Argument for Regulation

This is my blog so here is my opinion: Government regulations save lives. Some people do not trust the government. I get that and it’s a discussion for another day. But, I do not trust business to act in anyone’s best interest but its own. 

I enjoy research. When I am in the market to buy a new product I actually enjoy reading recommendations and reviews. But, there is no way I can do this for every product I buy! When I go to the store and buy a bag of apples I want to be reasonably sure they are safe to eat. I would also like to be reasonably sure that they were grown and harvested in an ethical manner. Increasingly, I can not be sure the products I buy are safe or ethically produced.

The Lawsuit 

A lawsuit was filed in federal court yesterday (March 9th 2021) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Read the complaint in full.

According to NPR:

What happens next depends on how the Biden administration responds to the lawsuit, and whether Congress decides to weigh in. Because the rule was filed so late in the Trump administration, Congress could eliminate the rule through the Congressional Review Act. The HHS could also decide to stay the rule and suspend its implementation and its effective date indefinitely while the litigation is pending.

I will post an update as this story continues to unfold. In the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to your elected officials in congress with your thoughts about the SUNSET rule.


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