This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In response to a report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that linked deaths in the military to dietary supplements and to legislation sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch the senator's office issued this statement:
"Our office sought to discuss with HBO's 'Real Sports' the nature of the supplement industry and Sen. Hatch's extensive efforts, over the course of many years, to ensure its effective regulation. Unfortunately, the producers were focused on exploiting a tragedy and telling a pre-crafted story, even if mostly inaccurate. Contrary to erroneous claims, dietary supplements are in fact regulated and subject to enforcement. Despite our encouragement, 'Real Sports' failed to speak to any FDA regulators, refused to interview industry representatives who work on product safety, and ignored studies by the Department of Defense that complicate HBO's pre-determined narrative.
"Tens of millions of other Americans including Sen. Hatch rely on quality dietary supplements as part of a balanced approach to good health. Given the concentration of supplement producers, their employees, and consumers in Utah, the safe and efficient regulation of these products has long been a priority for Sen. Hatch's constituents. He has fought for years to develop and maintain a regulatory framework that provides consumers with broad access to the products they want, with strong safeguards to protect their health and safety.
"As a direct result of Sen. Hatch's legislation which was supported by a broad majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress the FDA, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and state enforcement agencies are equipped with meaningful enforcement authorities to guard against unsafe products. Throughout Sen. Hatch's career, he has repeatedly pushed for agencies to employ these tools to their fullest to keep unsafe products off the shelves and ensure high-quality supplements for all consumers. For many years, and as recently as earlier this week, Sen. Hatch has sought to strengthen regulation and enforcement through effective use of these many existing legal authorities. Many of the claims made by 'Real Sports,' and the implication of their story line, are simply not accurate."
HBO did not back down, however.
"We stand by our report," said HBO spokesman Ray Stallone. "We spent months researching the issue and speaking to a wide range of subjects including experts who have a deep and comprehensive understanding of the concerns voiced in the report.
"We tried numerous times to arrange an interview with Sen. Hatch. We called and emailed Sen. Hatch's office repeatedly over an extended period of time. We would have been happy to meet him anywhere at any time. All of our requests for an interview with Sen. Hatch were denied."