NPA testifies before NJ Assembly Health Committee in opposition to bill restricting access to weight management and muscle-building supplements

The Natural Products Association provided testimony on November 14, 2022, in opposition to A 3512 during the New Jersey Assembly Health Committee.

The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) provided testimony today, November 14, 2022, in opposition to A 3512 during the New Jersey Assembly Health Committee. The bill would restrict the sale of “any over-the-counter diet pill or dietary supplement for muscle building” to those under the age of 18 without a prescription from a licensed health care professional. The bill does not include “protein powders, protein drinks, and foods marketed as containing protein” as a dietary supplement for muscle building, “unless the protein powders, drinks, and foods contain one or more ingredients, other than protein which would, considered alone, constitute a diet supplement for muscle building.”

According to the language of the bill, “‘Over-the-counter diet pill’ means a drug sold for or used with the intent to achieve weight loss that contains a label that meets the requirements of 21 CFR 201.66, including (1) a ‘Drug Facts’ panel; or (2) a statement of the ‘active ingredient’ or ‘active ingredients’ with a list of those ingredients contained in the compound, substance, or preparation.”

It is unclear whether dietary supplements marketing to support weight management are excluded from the definition of “over-the-counter diet pill.” Similar proposals have been introduced and failed to pass in other states, such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and California. Most recently, Governor Newsom vetoed a similar bill which passed Assembly in August. The oft-cited reasoning for introducing this type of legislation is to protect minors from developing eating disorders; an assertion that is flatly rejected by industry.

“This is a slap in the face to public health and consumer choice. New Jersey has recognized the importance of these products by exempting them from the state sales tax,” said Kyle Turk, vice president of government affairs for NPA, in a press release. “The FDA does not have a single data point that connects eating disorders to supplement use and 80% of Americans take at least one dietary supplement as a safe, effective, and affordable way to maintain good health and augment inadequate diets. Yet, some New Jersey lawmakers do not believe its citizens are capable of making healthy choices for themselves. We are urging New Jersey lawmakers to follow the science and data provided by the FDA and oppose this counterproductive legislation.”