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Christine Burdick-Bell Receives 2023 ABC Champion Award

Pharmavite General Counsel lauded for work on BAPP Consumer-Protection Initiative

AUSTIN, Texas (April 20, 2023) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) presented its 2023 Champion Award to Christine Burdick-Bell, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at Pharmavite, a West Hills, California-based manufacturer of nutritional products and dietary supplements. The ABC Champion Award, which was first presented in 2015, is given to individuals who have devoted significant time or funds to support ABC’s nonprofit research and educational mission, publications, and programs.

Beginning in 2018, Burdick-Bell generously donated her time, legal experience, and expertise to support ABC Regulatory Consultant Michael D. Levin, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, and others with the development and refinement of the final drafts of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program’s (BAPP’s) “Best Practices Standardized Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Disposal/Destruction of Irreparably Defective Articles.”

Burdick-Bell was one of the first leaders from a major dietary supplement company to publicly endorse the BAPP SOP, and, even before the SOP was finalized and announced for industry adoption in October 2022, she pledged that Pharmavite would implement aspects of the SOP and seller-buyer contract language into the company’s quality systems and SOPs.

The BAPP Best Practices SOP, which is now available for download on ABC’s website, is a voluntary, self-regulatory consumer-protection initiative designed to assist buyers in the herb, dietary supplement, food, cosmetic, and over-the-counter (OTC) drug industries to remove ingredients from the supply chain if those ingredients (“articles”) are deemed by scientifically valid, mutually-agreed-upon, third-party analytical laboratory testing to be “irreparably defective.” That is, they cannot be lawfully reconditioned for use in foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, etc.

The new SOP contains contract language templates for the seller and buyer; a three-way confidentiality agreement among the buyer, seller, and contract analytical laboratory; and frequently asked questions that arose during two public comment periods. 

“Pharmavite has long been a strong supporter of the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program, which is a program of ABC, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research,” said Burdick-Bell. “The program’s excellent work to educate the industry about and uncover ingredient and product adulteration cannot be overstated. I was privileged to play a very small role in furthering the program’s efforts and am deeply honored by this award.”

Burdick-Bell has been with Pharmavite since 2005 and is responsible for the company’s legal and government affairs. Pharmavite, which Burdick-Bell’s brother Henry Burdick founded with pharmacist Barry Pressman in 1971, is an early pioneer in the manufacturing and marketing of dietary supplements and sells supplements under the Nature Made® brand, one of the top-selling brands in the mainstream retail channel. Pharmavite was the first national supplement company to have key products verified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), a leading arbiter of dietary supplement quality, and Burdick-Bell was an important part of that process.

Burdick-Bell has been a practicing attorney for more than 35 years and is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. She has been a partner at a leading law firm and has handled significant mergers and acquisitions, major securities filings, private placements, and general business matters. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a leading dietary supplement industry trade association.

Burdick-Bell received a Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine and a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford University Law School.

Levin, the founder of Health Business Strategies and primary consultant on and author of the BAPP SOP, wrote: “These BAPP Best Practices are better because of Christine’s contributions, and our entire industry is in her debt. Though she is a general counsel for a leading vitamin and supplement company, she was focused when it came to our work together on the BAPP SOP. With the linguistic precision of an experienced lawyer and the eagle eye of an expert peer reviewer, Christine never hesitated to speak her mind and fight for what she thought was best, and what she thought was best was always about protecting the consumer. She continues to epitomize Pharmavite’s first core value: ‘Do the Right Thing.’” 

Blumenthal said: “ABC and BAPP are deeply grateful to Christine for her key role in editing and finalizing the BAPP SOP. While we appreciate the time and assistance provided by several attorneys and regulatory experts who served as ad hoc advisors on the legal-regulatory aspects of this vital document, Christine stood out due to the large amount of her valuable time and expertise that she freely dedicated. She has made a significant contribution to the herb and dietary supplement industry.” 

Previous recipients of the ABC Champion Award include Steven Foster, the late botanist, photographer, and author (2022); Jerry Cott, PhD, a former Food and Drug Administration psychopharmacologist (2020); Thomas Brendler, PhD, founder of the consulting firm PlantaPhile (2019); Jim Emme, CEO of NOW Health Group (2018); Dick Griffin of Griffin Insurance Services (2017); Josef Brinckmann, a medicinal plant expert at Traditional Medicinals (2016); Ed Smith, co-founder of Herb Pharm (2015); and Terry Lemerond, founder of EuroPharma, Inc. and Enzymatic Therapy (2014).

The 2023 ABC Champion Award was presented at the 18th annual ABC Celebration and Botanical Excellence Awards Ceremony on March 8, 2023, in Anaheim, California, during the annual Natural Products Expo West Conference and Trade Show.

The ABC Celebration was generously underwritten by Alkemist Labs, Amin Talati Wasserman, Applied Food Sciences, Brassica Protection Products, Eurofins, Euromed, EuroPharma, Herb Pharm, Indena, MegaFood, Natural Factors, New Chapter, NOW Foods, RFI, RT Specialty, and the United Natural Products Alliance.