NPA to testify before Rhode Island State Senate in opposition to new bill restricting access to weight management and sports nutrition products

The bill specifically restricts dietary supplements containing an ephedrine group alkaloid, and any supplement containing: androstanedoil, androstenedione, androstenedione, noradrostenediol, noradrostenediol, and dehydroepiandrosterone.

The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, D.C.) has submitted testimony in opposition to a bill introduced to the Rhode Island state legislature which would make it a misdemeanor to sell certain dietary supplement products to consumers under the age of 18. The bill specifically restricts dietary supplements containing an ephedrine group alkaloid, and any supplement containing: androstanedoil, androstenedione, androstenedione, noradrostenediol, noradrostenediol, and dehydroepiandrosterone.

The bill would require retailers to move products containing these ingredients behind the counter to be sold only to consumers over the age of 18. Those who do not comply with the requirements would face fines up to $2,000, which NPA points out is far higher than the $250 fine for selling alcohol to a minor under Rhode Island law. The bill would also require retail establishments to conspicuously post notices at each purchase counter communications that certain dietary supplements “are known to cause gastrointestinal impairment, tachycardia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, severe liver injury sometimes requiring transplant or leading to death, organ failure, other serious injury, and death.”

In its testimony, NPA argues that prohibiting the sale of healthy, safe, and legal dietary supplement products to minors will not promote public health, but instead undermine it by restricting access to products that support health and wellness. The testimony also argues that the legislation will negatively impact the state economically and place an overwhelming burden on retailers.

“In Rhode Island, the natural products industry has an economic impact of nearly $52 million, providing almost 2,000 jobs and nearly $10 million in state taxes. Rhode Island's economic engine, Main Street, includes retailers who supply their communities with nutritional products,” states the testimony. “As we have seen, Main Street has been crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill fails to consider whether retailers have the physical space to segregate the products. Brick and mortar have been crippled over the last two years, and legislation like this one is just another nail in their coffins.”

“What’s more concerning is that this may drive teenagers to buy products online, where we find the worst abuses of product manipulation and mislabeling.It only hurts young people, Rhode Island’s economy and hardworking store owners who now face a costly new mandate that is completely unnecessary,” states Daniel Fabricant, president and CEO of NPA, in a press release.

The testimony will be read by Kyle Turk, NPA’s directory of government affairs on March 24th, 2022 at 5 pm during a hearing scheduled by the Rhode Island State Senate Health and Human Services Committee.