AHPA withdraws objections to California weight loss bill

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© John Parrot/Stocktrek Images / Getty Images
© John Parrot/Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Related tags weight loss products Weight management Dietary supplements California

Recent amendments to a California bill that seeks to place restrictions on the sale of some weight management supplements to minors removed retail access restrictions and clarifies definitions, leading one trade association to remove its objections.

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). 

Dietary supplement trade associations previously lodged opposition to the bill but the most recent amendments were based on input by members of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Sports Nutrition Committee and a coalition of other trade associations.

“The amendments to CA AB 1341 on June 8th are the product of extensive negotiations with Assemblymember Garcia by AHPA and several partner trade associations,” ​said Robert Marriott, AHPA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.

“While the bill still restricts individuals under 18 from purchasing covered products, the scope of covered products is more clearly and narrowly defined, and the bill no longer imposes onerous physical access restrictions on retailers and consumers.

“In addition, commonsense exceptions for prescriptions and dietary fiber products are now a part of the legislation. As a result of these improvements, AHPA has withdrawn its opposition to AB 1341.”

Extensive restrictions

The original version of the bill applied extensive physical access and age restrictions to a broadly defined class of dietary supplement and OTC products “sold for or used with the intent to achieve weight loss.”

The amended version does not contain physical access restrictions and greatly narrows and clarifies the covered product definition.

The remaining restriction bars individuals under 18 from purchasing dietary supplements that are both a) “labeled, marketed, or otherwise represented for the purpose of achieving weight loss”, and b) found by the California Department of Public Health, as part of a stakeholder consultation, to both meet the above definition and contribute to specific health conditions.

Dietary fiber products are also excluded from the bill’s scope, and individuals under 18 can access covered products with a prescription.

Aims of the amended bill

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.

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