California law restricting access to weight management products amended to be less onerous

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) has withdrawn its objection to California Assembly Bill 1341 after it was amended to address industry concerns. The amended bill removed restrictions on physical access to minors and narrowed the class of dietary supplements subject to age restrictions.

Previously, the bill defined “dietary supplements for weight loss” as follows:

“(1) ‘Dietary supplement for weight loss‘ means a class of dietary supplement sold for, or used with the intent of achieving, weight loss that is lawfully sold, transferred, or dispensed over-the-counter, with or without a prescription, pursuant to the Regulations of Federal Food , Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 USC Sec. 301 et seq.) and the regulations enacted under them. “Dietary supplements for weight loss” may contain, among other things, thermogenics, lipotropics, hormones, including hormone modulators and hormone mimetics, appetite suppressants, and ingredients considered adulterated under Section 342 of Title 21 of the United States Code.”

The new language limits the definition to products labeled and marketed for weight loss, removes certain classes of ingredients such as thermogenics, lipotropics, hormones and appetite suppressants, and excludes fiber products from the definition of weight loss products. The bill now defined “dietary supplements for weight loss” as:

“(1) ‘Dietary supplements for weight loss’ means a class of dietary supplements labeled, marketed or otherwise advocated for the purpose of weight loss and which are subject to the regulations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act ( 21 USC § 301 et seq.) and regulations enacted thereunder. “Weight loss supplements” include products that are marketed with a Supplement Facts Panel under federal regulations and contain either legal nutritional ingredients or ingredients deemed to be adulterated under Section 342 of Title 21 of the United States Code, or both. “Dietary supplements for weight loss” does not include fiber products.”

Regarding physical access to weight-loss products, the bill would previously have required retailers to prevent direct consumer access to products, forcing retailers to reorganize their stores. The bill was:

“c) A retail establishment must take all of the following steps with respect to the weight-loss supplements and over-the-counter diet pills designated by the State Department of Public Health to be subject to this division if the retail establishment sells, transfers, or otherwise sells weight-loss supplements or delivers over-the-counter diet pills to customers who are physically present at the retail store:

“…(2) Prohibit direct access to these products by customers and restrict direct access only to managers, assistant managers, acting managers or other retail store supervisory personnel.

“(3) Require a customer to request the purchase, transfer, or delivery of these products directly from the manager, assistant manager, acting manager, or other supervisory personnel of the retail establishment.”

The revised bill simply states that the products cannot be sold to minors without a prescription and that retailers must require valid identification before selling these products. These revisions make the bill much less onerous for the retailer.

A similar law passed by the Rhode Island state senate would still place restrictions on physical access to weight loss products. This bill has yet to be passed by the state’s House of Representatives.

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