WASHINGTON - A small trade association representing practitioners of alternative medicine won a victory over the FDA that will require the agency to revise the way it regulates health claims for dietary supplements. The U.S. Appeals Court ruling last month continues a trend by federal courts to limit the distinctions between the permissible suppression of commercial and private speech, which ultimately could force changes in the way FDA regulates claims about therapeutics, according to attorneys specializing in constitutional and FDA law.

In the case brought by the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that FDA's health claims rules for dietary supplements violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects free speech, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).