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Fate of bill to restrict sale of diet pills in hands of NY governor

Various dietary supplements 2019

The New York State Senate on Thursday voted to restrict the sale to minors of OTC diet pills and dietary supplements for weight loss or muscle building.

S16D was passed by a vote of 48 to 12 and will be delivered to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her consideration, according to Emily Lavin, a spokeswoman for state Sen. Shelley Mayer, who sponsored the legislation. A version of the bill in the New York State Assembly, which Assembywoman Nily Rozic sponsored, was passed in January.

The bill would prohibit minors from purchasing weight loss or muscle building supplements unless they had a prescription from a healthcare provider. And retailers who violated the limitation could be subject to a civil penalty of $500.

New York is not the only state eying limitations on weight loss supplements to minors. In January, the California State Assembly passed a similar bill, which is scheduled to be heard in June by the state Senate.

 “Our teens are heavily influenced by social media and are seeking ways to achieve unrealistic standards of beauty, including taking poorly regulated weight loss and muscle building supplements that can have serious health consequences, ranging from exacerbation of eating disorders to liver damage, to deadly heart attacks,” Mayer said in an emailed statement.

She said she was pleased the bill passed in both houses and looked forward to Hochul signing it.

The bill did face industry opposition—with one trade association describing it as “toothless.”

“Limiting access to safe and well-regulated  dietary supplements isn't the answer to preventing eating disorders,” Kyle Turk, director of government affairs with the Natural Products Association (NPA), said in an email. “The bill passed by New York's legislature is grasping at straws to make it seem as if they're passing meaningful legislation while punishing brick-and-mortar retailers. NPA respectfully calls on Gov. Kathy Hochul to veto this toothless legislation."

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