Beyond Celiac Goes to Washington to Advocate for Labeling of Gluten in Medications

August 17, 2016

Beyond Celiac Goes to Washington to Advocate for Labeling of Gluten in Medications

Nancy Ginter, Beyond Celiac Director of Administration, met with the offices of Representatives Tim Ryan (OH) and Nita Lowey (NY), to support their proposed bill to label gluten in medications.

Gluten in medications is a confusing topic for people living with celiac disease. Some medications include gluten as an excipient or binder in medications. Excipients are what holds medications together and can include gluten.

There’s debate as to whether or not the amount of gluten found in some medications is enough to trigger the autoimmune response seen in celiac disease. This lack of information leaves the community confused and ignites fear about taking medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. The process of finding out if a medication is gluten-free can be frustrating. Calls to pharmacists, doctors and drug manufacturers can be inconclusive and can leave consumers in the dark about the potential gluten content of specific medications.

Nancy Ginter and Anne Sokolov of Tim Ryan's office

Nancy Ginter of Beyond Celiac (right) with Anne Sokolov,
Legislative Director at Tim Ryan’s (OH) office

In 2015, Representatives Tim Ryan (OH) and Nita Lowey (NY) introduced a bill in Congress, the Gluten in Medicine Disclosure Act, proposing that labeling of ingredients in medications be mandated. The goal of this legislation is to make it easier for people suffering from gluten-related disorders to identify medications that contain gluten. It has yet to gain traction. A similar bill was introduced in 2013 by Representatives Ryan and Lowey without success. Last month, Beyond Celiac Director of Administration Nancy Ginter traveled to Washington, DC to talk about the status of the proposed bill with representatives of the offices of Tim Ryan and Nita Lowey.

Nancy Ginter with Roy Loewenstein of Nita Lowey's Office

Nancy Ginter with Roy Loewenstein, Staff Assistant
with Nita Lowey’s(NY) office

Nancy spoke with Legislative Director Anne Sokolov of Tim Ryan’s office and Roy Loewenstein, Staff Assistant at Nita Lowey’s office. Nancy emphasized the great need to continue to push for legislation that will address this issue, which has a such a negative impact on those with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Our hope is that continuing to encourage and support this bill, and its successors, will help push it through the process so our community can take needed medications without fear.

Beyond Celiac has been working in the area of gluten in medications since 2007. Check out our progress in this year-by-year timeline.

A big thank you to the representatives who have taken the time to better understand the celiac disease community!

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