Cara Welch named director of FDA’s Office of Dietary Supplement Programs

Welch has been acting director of ODSP since Steve Tave left the position in March of 2021.

Cara Welch, PhD, has been appointed director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP). Welch has been acting director of ODSP since Steve Tave left the position in March of 2021. The response from industry has been largely positive. Welch has been with ODSP for over seven years and prior to FDA, spent four years with the Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) in scientific and regulatory affairs. Therefore, Welch has a longstanding relationship with industry. Moreover, with Robert Califf, MD, finally being confirmed as commissioner of FDA and Welch taking over as leader of ODSP, it’s a relief to finally have permanent leadership at the agency.

“NPA is glad someone is in the chair on a permanent basis, at an important time with some uncertainties like NAC, CBD, etc. On a personal note, I hired Cara at NPA and at FDA and am very happy to see her get the position she wanted and deserves,” said Daniel Fabricant, president and CEO of the Natural Products Association. “While we don’t always agree, having someone with the NPA background leading that part of FDA was good for all in the past, and we’re hopeful that is true in the future.”

“CHPA congratulates Dr. Welch on her permanent appointment as Director of ODSP. This is a tremendous and well-deserved career achievement. Her experience, knowledge of the issues, and previous leadership at ODSP will surely be good for FDA and consumers,” said the Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s (CHPA; Washington, D.C.) senior vice president of dietary supplements, Duffy MacKay. “CHPA and ODSP are aligned in our mission: to ensure consumers have access to safe, high quality dietary supplements. We look forward to our continued partnership as we work together to modernize the regulatory framework for dietary supplements. With permanent leadership and a fully staffed ODSP, we anticipate FDA will be able to more proactively regulate the dietary supplements industry.”

Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) too congratulated Welch on her new position, adding: “The herbal products industry has many interests in common with FDA, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with ODSP now that Dr. Welch is filling this important leadership role.”

Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, D.C.) also praised Welch, commenting that her considerable experience regarding dietary supplements, both in the industry and FDA, well serve her well when leading ODSP. "CRN has valued Dr. Welch’s candor, her deep understanding of the impact that FDA’s regulations have on companies and consumers, and her willingness to engage in genuine dialogue," said Mister. "Under her direction, we look forward to a fully staffed ODSP that enforces the requirements of DSHEA and honors the balance between broad access to these beneficial products and protecting public safety.”

Updated on March, 15, 2022 at 10:53 AM.