California weight management supplements bill still alive after slight amendments

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

California weight management supplements bill still alive after slight amendments

Related tags weight management products weight loss products California

A controversial California bill that seeks to place restrictions on the sale of some weight management supplements to minors has been amended but is still alive in the state's legislature.

The bill, AB-1341​ was introduced by Assemblywoman Christina Garcia early last year, and recently amended in the State Senate (it had previously been amended twice in the State Assembly). 

The goal of the bill is to “would prohibit a retail establishment from selling, transferring, or otherwise furnishing dietary supplements for weight loss or over-the-counter (OTC) diet pills, as defined, to any person under 18 years of age without a prescription, by requiring the retail establishment to follow a specified identification check.

“The bill would, to the extent not in conflict with federal law, require the department to develop a notice stating that certain dietary supplements for weight loss or OTC diet pills may contribute to specified health conditions or death. The bill would require a retail establishment that sells those products to post that notice.”

If passed the bill would take effect on July 1, 2023.

Similar ideas across the Union

This is not the first bill of its type.  Similar legislation​ has been introduced in multiple states, including Massachusetts, Illinois, and most recently Rhode Island​ where a version recently passed that State’s Senate. Garcia’s measure is considered to have a good chance of becoming law, and dietary supplement trade associations have lodged opposition to the bill.

Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of the Natural Products Association, told us this week: “We’re taking this very seriously. This is going to be used for lawsuits, it’s all plaintiff’s bar stuff.”

The common idea behind all of these bills is the purported link between weight management supplements and eating disorders.  Fabricant said there is no research that establishes the notion that the use of weight management supplements causes or exacerbates eating disorders, but the idea seems rather to have arisen from anecdotal reports.

“We have submitted FOIA requests to the FDA on this,” ​said Fabricant. “Where are the AER indications?”

Garcia, who represents a district in the Los Angeles area, put herself forward for California’s new 42nd Congressional District but came in behind Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia (D) in the recent primary.

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