CRN celebrates veto on age restriction for weight loss and muscle recovery pills
04 Jan 2023 --- The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) is praising Governor Kathy Hochul’s decision to veto New York State Assembly Bill A431-C, which would have prohibited the sale or distribution of over-the-counter dietary supplements for weight loss and muscle-building to people under 18 unless prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider.
“We are pleased Governor Hochul recognized that the proposal passed by the legislative chambers, while well-intentioned, likely would not have much of an impact on the public health problem of increased eating disorders and body dysmorphia among young adults,” says Steve Mister, president and CEO of the CRN.
“It would impose an unfair burden on retailers that would be difficult for them to meet, but had little impact on products sold online, products that more often attract young people with aggressive claims,” Mister says.
In October 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 3141 to prohibit the sale of some dietary weight loss supplements to people under 18 without an ID or prescription. The CRN applauded the decision and upheld it as a model for federal legislation.
Reigning in the legislative scope
The CRN engaged with legislators and the Governor throughout the legislative process to voice concerns about the bills. In its original form, it was not specific and would have restricted safe and beneficial products sold by local retailers. The original version could also limit access to all consumers.
Since the introduction of the bills in the New York Assembly and Senate, CRN engaged with sponsors and lawmakers to express concerns surrounding the bill’s scope, lack of online regulation and the absence of scientific evidence linking dietary supplements to eating disorders or body dysmorphia in young adults.
“When the legislation advanced through the legislative branch despite our concerns, we consulted to provide scientific information on the safety and existing federal regulation of the affected products, along with information regarding the significant economic contributions that dietary supplement manufacturing and ingredient supply provides to New York,” explains Mister.
“We appreciate that the Governor listened to these objections and vetoed the bill.”
CRN intends to work with legislators and the Governor in the upcoming legislative session to provide industry perspective and technical assistance if lawmakers move forward with a revised proposal.
Disappointed in listing exclusion
The organization expressed disappointment in the Dietary Supplement Listing Act being excluded from the end-of-year Omnibus package as revised by Senator Richard Durbin after extensive negotiations.
According to CRN, the listing could have advanced the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) oversight of the marketplace and demonstrated the industry’s commitment to be held accountable among retailers and consumers.
The trade association is, however, encouraged by the inclusion of language in the Agriculture/FDA Appropriations Committee report that accompanies the legislation, which states: “The agreement supports FDA’s proposal to require that all products marketed as dietary supplements be listed with FDA.
“The agreement believes that FDA’s authorities’ over products marketed as dietary supplements should be clarified to facilitate enforcement against unlawfully marketed products.”
This bipartisan, bicameral report language indicates there is still substantial interest in Congress to address the gap in enforcement tools which hampers the FDA’s oversight of the US$56 billion dietary supplement industry.
“Dietary supplement listing will happen; it will just take a little more time. We encourage our fellow industry stakeholders to exhibit leadership and come to the negotiating table in the next Congress to address their concerns,” the CRN states.
“Retailers are looking for ways to self-regulate and curate the products they offer for sale; consumers want to know the products they purchase are visible to regulators. CRN looks forward to advancing these goals with our continued support for dietary supplement listing.”
The CRN supports the move to include the INFORM Consumers Act in the end-of-year Omnibus package. The legislation is important in ensuring that consumers may purchase safe products from online marketplaces.
With the enactment of this policy, online marketplaces will now be required to verify the identity of high-volume third-party vendors; this will help to combat the sale of counterfeit and illicit products.
Edited by Inga de Jong
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