Governor Hochul vetoes bill that would restrict access to weight management dietary supplements


New York Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed Assembly Bill 431-C, which would restrict minors from purchasing weight management and muscle building dietary supplements without a prescription.

Photo © Kuzma

Photo © Kuzma

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed Assembly Bill 431-C, which would restrict minors from purchasing weight management and muscle building dietary supplements without a prescription. According to a memo to the State’s Assembly explaining the veto, Hochul stated that “This legislation would require the Department of Health (DOH) to determine what products should be limited under this new law. DOH does not have the expertise necessary to analyze ingredients used in countless products, a role that is traditionally played by FDA…It would be unfair to expect retailers to determine which products they can and cannot sell over the counter to minors, particularly while facing the threat of civil penalties.”

This reasoning is similar to that of California Governor Gavin Newsom, who vetoed a similar measure (Assembly Bill 1341) in September. In New York State, the state legislature can override a veto if a two-thirds majority in both houses votes to override the veto and make it law. However, because the bill died in the last legislative session, lawmakers will have to start from square one, explained Kyle Turk, the director of government affairs for the Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.), to Nutritional Outlook. This means the bill will have to go through both chambers and committee process before it can be delivered once again to the governor’s desk. NPA has been active in trying to prevent the passage of the legislation through its grass-roots efforts, and most recently called on Governor Hochul to veto the bill. NPA’s president and CEO, Daniel Fabricant, PhD, emphasized the importance of continuing its grass roots advocacy to prevent the bill’s passage in the future, and praised NPA for being the only trade group to publicly call on Governor Hochul to veto the bill.

Other trade organizations such as the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD), and the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, D.C) have not been supportive of the New York Assembly Bill or similar bills introduced in other states, but have made efforts to make the bill less burdensome for industry, while also pointing out the flawed premise behind the bills.

“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. 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,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, in a press release. “Since the introduction of the bills in the New York Assembly and Senate, CRN has engaged with the sponsors and other lawmakers to relay concerns about the legislation as drafted, including the scope of the bill, its lack of online regulation, and absence of any scientific evidence that dietary supplements have any link to eating disorders or body dysmorphia in young adults. When the legislation advanced through the legislative branch despite our concerns, we consulted with Governor Hochul's staff 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. We appreciate that the Governor listened to these objections and vetoed the bill.”

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