Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) Introduce the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act
Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) today introduced the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act. This legislation would require drug manufacturers to label medications’ ingredients, their source, and whether gluten is present.
According to the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease has increased as much as four times in the last decade – affecting nearly three million Americans. Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder in which ingesting gluten causes damage to the villi of the small intestine. The only treatment is the total elimination of gluten-containing products, including wheat, barley, and rye sources.
“Millions of Americans who have celiac disease deserve to know if their prescription drugs contain gluten. Without this critical information and proper labeling, their medication could be doing more harm than good. The American people shouldn’t be kept in the dark about whether or not their medication includes ingredients that could make them sick. This needs to change. I introduced the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act to increase transparency and consistency in prescription drug labeling and ensure the health and wellbeing of Americans who have celiac disease,” said Rep. Tim Ryan.
“For years, Americans with Celiac Disease have been vulnerable to life-threatening complications due to a lack of information about what their needed medications contain,” said Rep. Steve Stivers. “By ramping up transparency in prescription medicine, this bill will help our friends, family, and neighbors living with Celiac’s take control of their health.”
“Our community needs to have confidence that their medicines are helping them, not hurting them. Not knowing if your medication contains gluten forces you to take risks with your or your child's health. Imagine if you or your child with celiac disease needs medication. Right now, there's no way to know for sure if the medicine will trigger a gluten-related reaction, which may result in serious symptoms. This legislation is long overdue,” said Alice Bast, CEO of Beyond Celiac.
“The Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act will provide the millions who suffer from celiac disease and their loved ones with confidence that prescribed medicines may be safely taken. Congressmen Ryan and Stivers are working tirelessly to bring needed attention to the seriousness of celiac disease and its daily ramifications. We urge other Members of Congress to join in supporting this long overdue legislation,” said Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive of the Celiac Disease Foundation.
“The countless stories that we hear at the National Celiac Association echo the critical importance of knowing if gluten is in your medication or not. From doctors halting their decisions based on the unknown, to EMTs choosing IV pain medication instead of oral, to a mom not knowing if she can start an antibiotic for her child with an infection...we could go on. This is why the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act is so vital to the celiac community, and we urge Congress to pass this bill immediately,” said Lee Graham, Executive Director and CEO of the National Celiac Association.
In 2004, the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act required packaged food labels to identify all ingredients containing wheat and other allergens, but this requirement did not extend to prescription drugs. After repeated efforts to shed light on this issue, the FDA released draft guidance in 2017 encouraging drug manufacturers to disclose the presence of gluten. While some manufacturers have taken this step, it has not been implemented consistently. This leads to anxiety of not knowing whether or not your medicine is doing more harm than good.