- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

Annette Dickinson started at the Council for Responsible Nutrition 30 years ago as a general staffer. Now she is its leader.
Mrs. Dickinson, 59, has been promoted to president, taking control of the D.C. trade association for some 70 dietary supplement manufacturers. The association, with nine staff members, touts "the science behind the supplements."
"I'm taking on more of a leadership role of promoting our mission of providing scientific data for the dietary supplements," which include weight-loss pills, herbal medicines, vitamins, botanicals and minerals, Mrs. Dickinson said.
She said she would follow issues for which she lobbied while vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the association. One issue is the role of the Food and Drug Administration in labeling regulations regarding how a manufacturer can advertise the health effects of a supplement.
Labeling regulations like last week's FDA decision to put bar codes on all hospital drugs have a profound effect on the association's members, she said.
Mrs. Dickinson, who deals with members such as Wal-Mart and Bayer Corp., says the increased regulations give manufacturers better guidelines on how to market their drugs.
"It's not just how the product can make you healthier, but how it interacts with other drugs and what specific areas of the body are affected, and that gives more information to the consumer," she said.
Mrs. Dickinson started at the association when it formed in 1973, after a three-year stint with the FDA's Food Advisory Committee.
She worked her way from a general staffer to the head lobbyist for dietary supplement issues on Capitol Hill. The challenge of keeping up with the scientific research and changing regulations for supplements are part of the reason she has stayed.
"There is always something new or different coming out about dietary supplements, and that has kept my career from being static," Mrs. Dickinson said.
The association also fights negative images of the supplement industry resulting from consumer lawsuits and questionable manufacturers.
"Part of the problem is our fault for not getting the message out to the public enough," she said, adding that the association has pushed for self-regulation and higher manufacturing standards from its members in the past decade.
Members of the association's board of directors said it was a natural progression for Mrs. Dickinson to take the helm.
"Annette has been on the forefront since the beginning of this association, so there is no better person to be in charge of taking it forward as the industry changes," said Chairman Byron Johnson.
Mrs. Dickinson lives in Mount Airy, Md., with her husband, Charles.

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