New York bill to restrict supplement sales fails to progress in state assembly

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

The New York State Capitol in Albany, New York. Image © lavendertime / Getty Images
The New York State Capitol in Albany, New York. Image © lavendertime / Getty Images

Related tags Dietary supplements Natural products association Council for Responsible Nutrition

A bill that would have significantly restrict the sale of some dietary supplements in New York State has withered on the vine by not advancing for discussion in the NY State Assembly.

As reported last week by NutraIngedients-USA​, the bill would prevent the sale of “over-the-counter diet pills and dietary supplements for weight loss or muscle building”​ to minors.  The bill would mandate a fine of up to $2,000 for each violation. If enacted, the proposals would have restricted access to two broad categories of dietary supplements and functional food – sports nutrition and weight management products.

Designated as S.16, the bill was sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Shelly Mayer, who advanced the bill out of committee without a final vote directly to the Senate floor via an obscure parliamentary procedure called a Discharge Motion. This also prevented industry stakeholders from testifying in opposition to the bill. A Discharge Motion is reportedly used in some cases where a bill has opposition in committee but has languished beyond the 60-day deadline for action.

The bill then moved to the state Assembly as A.431, where lawmakers had until June 10 to vote and pass the bill. However, the legislature adjourned early the morning of June 11 without bringing the bill for discussion, thereby ending any prospect for passage in this legislative session.

"A much-needed victory"

Dietary supplement trade associations were quick to welcome the news of the bill’s demise.

The Natural Products Association (NPA) launched a grassroots campaign against the bill, which over 3,000 letters in opposition to S.16/A.431

Daniel Fabricant, PhD, NPA President and CEO, said: “NPA invests significant times and resources in protecting the industry against wrongheaded proposals like this one. Had this legislation been enacted, it would have cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in compliance. We are thrilled NPA was once again able to get the industry a much-needed victory.”

Mark LeDoux, NPA’s Board of Directors Chairman, added: “Special thanks to all of our grassroots advocates who’ve sent over 7,000 letters to their legislators in states that have introduced proposals like this one to restrict access to supplements. We appreciate the dedication to the industry and making their voices heard in state capitols across the country.”

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) also applauded New York State legislators for “recognizing that Senate Bill 16-D and Assembly Bill 431-B would have negatively impacted consumers and the local economy”,​ said the association in a release.

“This proposal would have needlessly restricted access to safe and beneficial products that may help consumers meet their fitness and weight goals without any scientific or legal basis to do so,”​ said Julia Gustafson, vice president, government relations, CRN. “Simultaneously, the bill would also place unreasonable compliance and economic burdens on retailers that may dissuade them from selling these products/ingredients at all.”

Gustafson added: “The New York bill offers no reasonable solution to the problem the sponsors of the bill are seeking to solve. CRN remains committed to working with stakeholders across states to address legitimate concerns relating to eating disorders and nutrition deficiencies they cause, but these proposals, and others like it, are not the solution.”

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