Is It Legal to Sell Supplements Online?

April 23, 2024



    Selling supplements online has become increasingly popular, but is it legal? In short, the answer is yes – but certain regulations must be adhered to ensure that you are selling dietary supplement products legally and safely.

    In this article, we’ll examine:

    • What regulations apply to selling health supplements online.
    • Legal requirements and consequences associated with selling health supplements illegally.
    • Best practices for selling supplements online.

    Ready? Let’s begin!

    What Regulations Apply to Selling Health Supplements Online?

    Are you looking for health and wellness products to sell online? Before you start selling, there are several regulations that you need to consider, such as:

    1. Health supplements are regulated by the FDA and must comply with the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). This means that all supplement manufacturers are required to follow FDA guidelines for safety, quality, and efficacy.
    1. Health supplement labels must meet FDA labeling requirements and list all the nutrients and ingredients. This allows customers to know what's in the dietary supplements they buy.
    1. Businesses must adhere to the laws of their individual states. Many states have laws or regulations that govern selling dietary supplements, including labeling, testing, and advertising requirements.

    It is important to familiarize yourself with applicable state laws to ensure that you are selling nutritional supplements legally.

    1. You must be aware of any additional regulations that may be imposed by the country in which you are selling.

    For example, the European Union has its own set of regulations for health supplements, which must be followed to legally sell supplements in the EU.

    1. Sellers must be aware of any restrictions or prohibitions on certain ingredients or products in the countries they are selling to. Understanding and complying with these regulations ensures that the supplements sold are legal and safe.

    What Are the Legal Requirements for Selling Health Supplements?

    When selling dietary supplements online, several important legal requirements must be met, which include: 

    • Safety and Quality Testing: Ensure that when you make your own supplements, they are tested for safety and quality, adhering to United States Food and FDA regulations.
    • Accurate Labeling and Health Claims: Labels must accurately list all ingredients and health claims in accordance with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
    • Registration and Licensing: Secure the necessary license to sell dietary supplements online, and ensure registration with the FDA.
    • Avoiding Adulterated Dietary Supplements: Ensure that the supplements sold online are not adulterated to maintain product integrity and customer safety.
    • Compliance with Regulations: Adhere to all FTC and FDA regulations, ensuring that the selling practices for nutritional supplements online are compliant and ethical.

    Bonus Tip: Need more sales channels to boost your supplement revenue? You can also check out our latest blog on How to sell health supplements on Reddit.

    Do You Need a License to Sell Vitamins and Supplements with Supliful?

    Yes, obtaining a license is essential when selling vitamins and supplements, ensuring that you comply with legal and industry standards.

    With Supliful Academy, you can gain insights and guidance on navigating through the licensing process effectively. We make sure that your business operates within the necessary legal frameworks.

    Supliful Academy aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools required to sell vitamins and supplements confidently and competently.

    How to Ensure Your Online Store Complies with Legal Requirements?

    The best way to ensure that your online store complies with legal requirements is to be knowledgeable about applicable laws and regulations.

    You must test all the products you sell for safety and quality. Sellers must use labels that list all product ingredients and adhere to FDA labeling requirements.

    Finally, it is important to become familiar with Federal Trade Commission regulations regarding advertising and promotional materials.

    If you’re still in doubt, connect with a business attorney to simplify this process!

    What Are the Consequences of Selling Supplements Illegally?

    There are many consequences of selling supplements illegally and they can be severe. 

    So if you’re wondering, “Do you need a license to sell supplements online” or “Is it legal to sell supplements?”. - Yes, you do, and yes it is! However, again, there are many consequences to consider, so let’s dive into them. 

    Pills in different shapes and colors.

    Legal Repercussions

    • Fines and Criminal Charges: Non-compliance with FDA and state regulations can lead to severe penalties such as fines or criminal charges.
    • Liability for Adverse Effects: Sellers may face liability for any adverse effects caused by their products if they don’t meet safety and labeling guidelines.
    • Facing Lawsuits for False Claims: Making false claims or not adhering to stringent regulations can result in lawsuits from consumers.

    Pro Tip: Get insurance to protect yourself against potential legal issues.

    When selling supplements online, focusing only on the dietary ingredients in your supplements shouldn't be your only concern. Have a license and follow the laws in your region and country to legally sell nutritional supplements and formulas. 

    What Are the Benefits of Selling Health Supplements Online?

    There are many advantages of selling dietary supplement health products online, which include: 

    • Global Reach: Selling supplements online allows your products, whether they are rich in amino acids, vitamin C, or other dietary ingredients, to be accessible to a global target market beyond the limitations of a brick-and-mortar store.
    • Cost-Efficiency: Online selling reduces overhead costs such as physical store space and in-person staff, allowing for a more lucrative business approach.
    • Flexibility in Sales: With the ability to sell supplements online, you have the flexibility to operate around the clock, catering to different time zones and schedules.
    • Effective Marketing: Online platforms, including social media, enable direct selling and engagement with customers, improving the visibility of your supplement line.
    • Customer Accessibility: A mobile-friendly website makes it easy for customers to access and buy your quality supplements online, improving their overall experience.
    • Insurance and Liability: Selling online requires having liability insurance to protect your business from unexpected challenges.

    With these benefits, you can optimize your business operations, ensure legal compliance, and leverage global reach to achieve success in the supplement industry.

    What Are the Best Practices for Selling Health Supplements Online?

    There are many best practices to successfully sell dietary supplement products online. Let’s dive into them!

    Ensure Product Safety and Quality

    Prioritize the safety and quality of the supplements you sell online. Ensure that each product adheres to applicable laws and regulations, and is thoroughly researched before being listed on your website.

    Provide Detailed Product Information

    Offer comprehensive information about each product, including its benefits, ingredients, and usage instructions. Transparency in providing such details helps in building customer trust and confidence in your products.

    Implement Clear Return Policies and Secure Payment Methods

    Establish a clear and straightforward return policy. Additionally, ensure that your website is equipped with secure payment methods to protect customer information and enhance their shopping experience.

    Deliver Excellent Customer Service

    Provide exceptional customer service to address customer inquiries, concerns, and feedback promptly and effectively. This practice helps in maintaining customer satisfaction and building a loyal customer base.

    Remember, it is vital to be transparent about pricing and shipping options to maintain customer trust.

    Bonus Tip: If you want to leverage Shopify for your business, knowing Shopify’s average customer return may help you decide if it’s worth it. Here’s our guide on the average returning customer rate on Shopify!

    What Are the Potential Risks of Selling Health Supplements Online?

    There are several potential risks in selling supplement products. Let’s take a closer look at what some of these risks include. 

     Hand with yellow capsules.

    Risk of Liability

    When selling supplements, there's a risk of liability if a customer experiences adverse effects from a product purchased from your store. Having a license to sell supplements is crucial, ensuring that all products have undergone a thorough safety evaluation.

    It's essential to comply with all the rules and necessary regulations to mitigate this risk.

    Consulting an attorney can be beneficial to ensure that your incorporated business operates within legal boundaries, maintaining high standards of consumer safety and product quality.

    Risk of Financial Loss

    Selling supplements online exposes businesses to the risk of financial loss due to customer returns or failure to complete payments. It's essential to have robust policies in place to manage returns and non-payments effectively.

    Operating on secure online channels and ensuring your own website is equipped with necessary security measures can help manage such financial risks, ensuring that transactions are completed reliably and securely.

    Risk of Fraud

    The online sale of supplements also carries the risk of fraud, such as customers attempting to purchase products with stolen credit cards. Ensuring your business operates on secure online channels, including social media platforms, is essential in mitigating this risk.

    Having your own certifications and collaborating with a drug manufacturer that adheres to international market regulations can also enhance the credibility and security of your business operations.

    It's crucial to be vigilant and implement stringent security measures to protect your business from fraudulent activities.

    Bonus Tip: If you want to start your own business, you have to eliminate any risk for a successful entrepreneurial journey! So, check out our guide on 3 Steps to Launching a Consumer Brand Risk-Free.

    How to Protect Yourself From Liability When Selling Health Supplements Online?

    There are many ways to protect yourself from liability when you decide to sell dietary supplement products online.  

    From following regulations, getting insurance, and knowing the ins and outs of online security, to investing in a business attorney, companies have many options to avoid liability. Let’s take a look at some of these options in detail. 

    Brown and white pills on a green container.

    Obtain Liability Insurance

    Sellers should obtain liability insurance to protect themselves from potential legal claims. This insurance can cover costs associated with customer injuries or damages resulting from the products you sell online.

    Consult a Business Attorney

    Consult with a business attorney specializing in dietary supplements for expert assistance. An attorney can guide you through the legal requirements and best practices to minimize liability risks in selling supplements online.

    Compliance with Regulations

    Ensure that the supplements you sell comply with all necessary regulations, including labeling, ingredients, and safety guidelines. Compliance helps in reducing the risk of legal issues and solidifies customer trust in your products.

    Secure Online Practices

    Implement secure practices on your online platforms, such as encrypted payment gateways and secure customer data handling. This helps in fraud prevention and other security risks associated with online transactions.


    Selling health supplements online is legal as long as you adhere to regulatory standards and prioritize customer safety. Prioritize rigorous product testing and quality assurance to uphold high standards and foster customer trust.

    Implement secure customer verification processes and provide detailed nutrition labeling, ensuring transparency and informed customer choices.

    By adopting these practices, you can safeguard transactions, promote genuine customer interactions, and improve the overall credibility and reliability of your online supplement selling platform.

    Looking for More Wisdom?

    If you are looking for other articles on supplement selling then these articles are a must-see:

    1. How to sell supplements on Instagram?
    2. How to sell supplements on Facebook?
    3. Where to sell supplements online

    These posts will help you learn more about how to sell supplements so you can improve your business skills.


    Can anyone make and sell supplements?

    No, not just anyone can make and sell supplements. You need to comply with various regulations, including FDA guidelines and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), to ensure the products' safety and quality.

    Do you need a license to sell supplements in the US?

    Yes, you need a license to sell supplements in the US. Obtaining a license ensures that you comply with legal and industry standards.

    What are the rules for selling supplements?

    Rules for selling supplements include adhering to FDA regulations, ensuring product safety and quality, accurate labeling, and compliance with state laws and international regulations if selling abroad.

    Do you need FDA approval to sell supplements?

    Supplements do not need pre-market approval from the FDA, but they must comply with FDA regulations for safety, quality, and labeling.

    Can you make supplements at home and sell them?

    Making supplements at home and selling them is not advisable due to stringent regulations and the necessity for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to ensure product safety and quality.

    Is it illegal to resell supplements?

    Reselling supplements is not inherently illegal, but they must still comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including safety, quality, and labeling requirements.

    What certifications are there for supplements?

    Certifications for supplements can include Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), third-party testing certifications, and organic or non-GMO certifications, among others. These certifications help ensure product integrity and consumer trust.


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