Beyond the day-to-day of seeing patients and attending to their health, many clinics and physicians are venturing into business territory. As the world becomes more health-conscious, the global supplement industry continues to grow in response. The sports nutrition segment is expected to reach 90.5 billion USD in 2026, women’s health products are expected to add $138 million in sales by the same year, and the healthcare practitioner market is experiencing the highest growth rate among all markets. 
Given these promising statistics, it’s clear that the supplement industry offers great opportunities for healthcare providers to create products that resonate with their clientele. The route forward is private label supplements, a business model that presents control over branding, pricing, and product formulation. All while diversifying your income stream, you can provide true value to your patients who are already going to you as a trusted authority.
Starting Your Supplement Business: Legal Considerations
While starting your own supplement business might sound like an exciting venture – it can also be a complicated one that requires a lot of research and planning. Just like everything else in the healthcare industry, legal considerations play a big role, from getting the necessary licenses to compliance with strict regulations.
The first question you’re probably asking is, “Do I need a license to sell supplements?” Interestingly, it depends. While you or your clinic may have licenses that permit you to practice medicine or something else in the industry, a federal license isn’t always required to sell supplements. Especially when it comes to private label supplements, the supplier will often take care of those essential requirements.
On the other hand, there may be specific licenses that depend on the supplement you want to sell and the region you’re operating in.  The more important aspect is to get a business license, which you likely already have as a healthcare provider.
Supplements also fall under the realm of ‘foods,’ which means they have to adhere to guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Both labeling and manufacturing requirements fall under these guidelines, including listing all ingredients on the packaging and making sure the manufacturing processes meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. Non-compliance can result in penalties and damage to your brand’s reputation or your standing as a healthcare provider.
Finally, it’s also important to secure appropriate insurance coverage for your business, such as product liability insurance. This will safeguard you from any unexpected financial liabilities in case of any issues with your products.
Exploring the Best Places to Sell Supplements on the Web
Although you’re likely to sell your supplements in your clinic, it’s also worth establishing a robust online presence. In such a digitally-driven world, your online presence will determine a big part of the success of your business. The best place to sell supplements online are platforms that can help you reach out to a broad audience and sell your products effectively.
For example, you could create your very own ecommerce website that gives you total control over branding, pricing, and customer relationships with no middlemen involved. Along with an e-commerce site, you can also make use of social media e-commerce to sell your products directly to consumers. Instagram’s ‘Shop’ feature, for instance, is a great way for consumers to discover and buy your line of products.
However, other online marketplaces like Amazon can provide vast exposure and an easier way to get your product to market. Similarly, online health platforms like iHerb that center around organic private label supplements or fitness sites can cater to a specific customer base and increase your brand exposure.
Navigating the Regulations: Selling Supplements Online
Selling supplements online also comes with its own set of regulations and rules. These regulations exist to ensure you can legally remain in business and keep your consumers safe.
Just like selling supplements in person, all products you sell online need to be FDA-approved. This government body oversees the entire category of foods in the US and ensures products are genuine and do not pose a safety risk. Although the phrase is ‘FDA-approved,’ there isn’t a specific approval process to go through, but rather a checklist of things to adhere to.
Under the FDA, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) defines the regulatory controls for dietary supplements specifically. The Act is what gives the FDA the authority to establish GMPs that companies need to follow. We’ve also mentioned the need for proper labeling, for which the FDA has a clear and strict set of requirements. Along with the correct elements, there are also enforcements relating to health claims and more. 
Do You Need a License to Sell Supplements Online?
Just like offline supplement sales, selling supplements online typically requires a business license and potentially other special licenses and permits too, depending on the nature of your business. If you’re planning to sell unique types of supplements, like herbal or organic products, extra certifications might be required.
Herbal Products License
Herbal products are classified under the umbrella of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products by the FDA. While there isn’t a specific license for selling herbal products, there are specific guidelines that are distinct from conventional medicine. Because we’re focusing on the realm of ‘dietary supplements’ and ‘drugs,’ herbal supplements are subject to regulation under the PHS Act.
Organic Private Label Supplements
Organic private label supplements also need to follow the same guidelines as regular supplements, but there are nuances when it comes to labeling. Supplements can only be labeled 100% organic if 100% of the ingredients are certified organic, and organic is a minimum of 95% of its ingredients are certified organic.  Only then will your products be able to use the registered USDA organic trademark in the US.
Wholesale Supplements: How to Buy and Where to Find Suppliers
In cases where starting a private label supplement business seems too demanding, opting for the wholesale route can be an ideal way to introduce supplements into your business. Rather than having to deal with everything from formulation and manufacturing to labeling, this route involves simply purchasing products in bulk from trusted vendors and reselling them to your customers.
The process of purchasing wholesale supplements starts off similarly to dealing with private label supplements. Begin by taking the time to understand what type of supplements you want to sell, including the form – whether capsules, liquids, or powders, for example. After that, you’ll want to find dependable health supplement wholesalers on B2B platforms like Faire, Fullscript, or Farm2Me.
While you won’t be able to tailor the branding or formulations of these products, you’ll be able to capitalize on the reputation and quality assurance that established brands bring with them. As these products will be handpicked by your clinic or practice, they’ll carry your stamp of approval and show your confidence in the quality of the supplements you’re selling.
Health Supplement Distribution: Tips for Success in the Market
If you’ve decided the private label route is the right one for you, you might be wondering how you can get your product to consumers. After your product is ready to go, your next task should be mastering distribution. The best place to start is by identifying your target market. Are your supplements designed for seniors or for people with specific health concerns like energy levels or gut health? All your distribution and promotional strategies should be aligned with that particular audience’s needs and preferred place to purchase.
No matter your audience, going for a multi-channel distribution strategy can help widen your reach considerably. Depending on your target audience, this could mean marketing your product within your clinic, having a strong presence on your website, using reputable e-commerce platforms like Amazon, or even partnering with local health and wellness retail stores. The goal is to make your product accessible and available wherever your customers are likely to look for them.
Breaking into the lucrative supplement market can open new revenue streams for your healthcare practice, whether you decide to venture into wholesale supplements or launch your own private label. But navigating this business venture requires robust knowledge of legal requirements for selling supplements, industry regulations, and distribution and sourcing procedures. Once you’ve passed this learning curve, however, the benefits waiting on the other side give you a chance to extend your healthcare services and provide your customers with high-quality, trusted supplements to improve their health.
1 – Montemarano, M. (2023, July 11). Supplement Sales Trends: Plenty of Growth Opportunities Amid Overall Slowdown. Nutraceuticals World. https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2023-11-07/supplement-sales-trends-plenty-of-growth-opportunities-amid-overall-slowdown/
2 – FDA. (n.d.-b). Questions and Answers on Dietary Supplements. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/food/information-consumers-using-dietary-supplements/questions-and-answers-dietary-supplements
3 – FDA. (n.d.). Dietary Supplements. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/dietary-supplements
4 – U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2013, January). A Food Labeling Guide. https://www.fda.gov/media/81606/download
5 – Labeling Organic Products. Labeling Organic Products | Agricultural Marketing Service. (n.d.). https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/organic/labeling