Why GMP is crucial to supplement industry?
- 08, 01, 2021
The supplement industry is big business. In Vietnam, the industry is worth over 5 billion per year and is still growing. As the decades have progressed, the supplement industry has evolved from chalky calcium tablets and foul-smelling cod liver oil, to an innovative and diversified market with products available for people of all ages, lifestyle and health concerns. With the growing number of people in Vietnam, the supplement industry has responded and launched products to suit people' needs.
Why Quality Is Important?
With so much money at stake, it is unfortunately common for companies to cut corners and to claim much higher levels of quality than are actually found in their products. All supplement companies claim to produce their products to the highest possible quality and using the best possible ingredients. In reality, however, product quality is a spectrum, with some companies more focused on the quality and efficacy of their products and other companies more focused on profit.
What is Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)?
Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is a standard of production that medicines manufacturers must meet. The standard stipulates that medicinal products must be produced to a consistent high quality, must be suitable for the products’ intended use and that the final product must match the product specification (in other words, the product must match what is said on the label). Similar mandatory standards exist in most countries to ensure the quality of medicinal products.
In order to gain GMP certification, manufacturers will be visited by agents of the regulatory body on a regular basis. The agents will check every aspect of the manufacturing process, such as the quality of ingredients, the hygiene of the facility, the reliability of the machinery, the quality of any finished products and proper record keeping. If a manufacturer fulfils all of the criteria, that manufacturer will be licensed as GMP compliant. The manufacturer covers the costs of obtaining the license.
Why is GMP important for supplements industry?
However, GMP is only mandatory when it comes to the production of medicinal products. Supplement manufacturers have no obligation to meet GMP quality standards. The costs of obtaining a license and maintaining the higher standards of production required to keep the license are significant, potentially adding more than 15% to production costs.
This unfortunately means that a lot of supplement manufacturers and brands at the lower end of the quality spectrum decide to not pursue GMP certification. Sometimes that decision is in order to pass the savings onto customers, but more often it is to increase the company’s profit margins. Regardless of the company’s motives, the result is that the customer ends up with a product without any guarantee of quality, efficacy or safety. Many scandalous news stories over the years have reported on quality assurance issues within the supplement industry, with many products found to contain far smaller quantities of ingredients than was promised on the label. In some cases, products were found to be missing promised ingredients entirely!