What happens in Washington DC has repercussions throughout the industry in here in the States and around the globe. For that very reason the PCPC panel discussion known as The Washington Report presented a rundown of how the new administration is likely to impact the legislative, regulatory, legal, public affairs, and global initiatives of the council.
A bigger role for the CIR?
Even before the panel got underway in earnest, Lezlee Westine, president and CEO of the PCPC showed a video of clip of a legislative panel that took place last September. After the short video, Beth Jonas, the PCPC’s EVP of science observed that, “it’s time for the CIR to be recognized as a regulatory structure.” It was a remark that met with affirmation from the panel and a general murmur of agreement from the room.
The CIR, or Cosmetic Ingredient Review, reviews and assess cosmetic ingredient safety often then going on to publish its findings in peer-reviewed scientific publications.
The CIR was founded in 1976 by the PCPC at the suggestion and with the support of both the FDA and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). And still today, representatives from the from both of those groups as well as from the PCPC serve as non-voting liaisons to the CIR and are actively involved in the comment and discussion process.
The Review uses the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients system to determine what ingredients to review. The PCPC developed the INCI system in the early 1970s. Industry funding supports the CIR, which operates as a 501(c) 6 not-for-profit; and the majority of that funding reportedly comes into the group through the PCPC.
Currently the CIR and the FDA have a good working relationship. “The CIR is an independent, industry-funded panel of medical and scientific experts that meets quarterly to assess the safety of cosmetic ingredients….FDA takes the results of CIR reviews into consideration when evaluating safety, but the results of FDA safety assessments may differ from those of CIR,” according to the FDA’s webpage about how the administration evaluates cosmetics.
How likely it is that the CIR will gain an expanded regulatory role or what exactly that would look like wasn’t made clear.
Besides Jonas, the Washington Report panel that Westine moderated included Mark Pollak, the council’s senior EVP; Tom Myers, EVP of legal and the council’s general counsel; John Hurson, EVP of government affairs; Francine Lamoriello, EVP of global strategies; and Lisa Powers, EVP of public affairs and communications.
The speakers shared insights into not only the current focus of the council as it pertains to their respective committees but also into how the council’s work will likely shift in response to the new White House.
There was a consensus among the panelists that the current administration will reduce federal regulations for industry across the board. Regulatory responsibility will therefore, “swing to the states,” according to Pollak, who went on to add that as a result, the focus of trade associations like the PCPC will need to shift more attention to the states as well. Pollak later emphasized that even under the current administration, “the council goals remain the same.”
On the communications front, Powers noted that while there is “less need for traditional media,” there is a greater need for accurate information across all media platforms (traditional, social, and otherwise). Therefore, in the year ahead, her committee will make “more [of an] effort to educate reporters.”
Myers commented on the executive order, signed on January 30, that makes it more challenging to pass new federal regulations. As Trump explains it, “we have to knock out two regulations for every new regulation.” Meyers believes this new reality “will embolden states;” and he plans to “stay actively engaged” with state agencies in an effort to avoid what could eventually result in an uptick in lawsuits.
Despite the expected shift to state’s rights in the coming months and years, Hurson says that the committee of government affairs “will keep fighting to get a good federal bill through congress.” The council’s primary objective with such a bill is to establish federal preemption so that any FDA determination would apply to every state, nullifying more stringent state or local regulations. Hurson called the passage of such a bill “really, really important.”
As far as science is concerned, Jonas says, “I too am worried about states.” She’s calling for “very solid science” when it comes to assessing ingredient risk. Risk she believes is the coincidence of “hazard” and “exposure,” and went on to explain that “the mere presence of a synthetic ingredient in the natural environment” isn’t necessarily a concern. She and her team plan to “use data on hazards to combat activism to ban ingredients” and to “develop a framework of risk assessment to defend ingredients that [personal care product manufacturers] really need.”
Lamoriello notes that the council’s global strategy relies on collaboration with international association partners. Representatives from over 12 of which were in attendance at the meeting. Her efforts remain focused on regulatory cooperation and her global strategies committee will “continue to promote regulatory reform in China.” She’s also putting time and energy in to seeing the “CIR and PCPC expanding CIR collaboration” internationally.
This article was updated on 7-March-2017 to more fully reflect the original and ongoing relationship between the CIR and the PCPC, the FDA, and the CFA.