NPA sends letter of NY governor requesting veto of bill restricting minors from purchasing weight management products, similar NJ bill pulled from Assembly vote

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With the bill awaiting Governor Hochul's signature, NPA sends request for veto. Similar NJ bill was up for a vote in the Assembly, but was pulled following concerns raised by NJ Department of Health.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/ Kuzma

Photo © iStockphoto.com/ Kuzma

The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) has sent a letter to New York State Governor Kathy Hochul asking for her to veto a bill (S-16/A431) that would restrict minors from purchasing muscle building and weight management products without a prescription. NPA has long criticized the underlying premise of this legislation, which has also been introduced in other states such as California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, that dietary supplements in these categories can lead to or exacerbate eating disorders.

According to the trade organization, there is no evidence to support this claim, nor has the adverse events reporting system picked up any adverse events related to dietary supplements and eating disorders. A Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA also yielded no data connecting dietary supplements to eating disorders. The evidence that advocates for the bill do cite, says NPA, lack a testing protocol called Challenge-Dechallenge-Rechallenge (CDR), which is used to determine whether there is a reasonable possibility that a product is etiologically related to an adverse event. Without this protocol, the data used to support this bill is not based on causality, explains NPA.

“It’s disingenuous and flat-out wrong to suggest the use of dietary supplements causes eating disorders,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president, and CEO of NPA, in a press release. “There is not a single data point that reflects these absurd claims. The dietary supplement industry has an extensive history of providing consumers with well-researched, trusted products as evidenced by the 80% of Americans who use at least one dietary supplement as a safe and affordable way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We are urging Governor Hochul to follow the science and data provided by the FDA and veto this irrational legislation.”

"NPA hopes Governor Hochul listens to the thousands of health and wellness advocates who’ve written letters to her urging her to veto this legislation," adds Kyle Turk, NPA’s director of government affairs.

New York’s neighbor New Jersey is considering similar legislation, with bills in both the Senate (S2387) and Assembly (A3512). The Senate bill was voted on in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee with five in favor and two in opposition and has moved on to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. However, in the Assembly, the bill was pulled from the agenda on Thursday, December 15, 2022.

“The New Jersey Department of Health raised significant flags, that we at NPA have been raising with the bill sponsors from the get-go, primarily that this is duplicating authorities with the FDA,” says Turk. “Essentially, here, just like at other states, the NJ bill would create a mini-FDA where they would need to go out to determine which dietary supplements are one, legally on the market, and two, safe.”

With the bill still seeing progress in the Senate, there is still a chance it can see passage in the future.

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