California bill would restrict access to weight loss supplements, impose hefty fines

The bill,  designated as AB 1341​, was introduced on Friday by state assembly member Cristina Garcia, who represents a district in southeastern Los Angeles County. Her measure would  prohibit retailers from selling dietary supplements aimed at weight loss to anyone under 18 years of age.  The bill would also require retailers to limit access to these products to all consumers and only allow their sale through a store employee.

State department to decide which products will be affected

The bill defines weight loss products as “thermogens, lipotropics, hormones, including hormone modulators and hormone mimetics, appetite suppressants.” ​ Determining what constitutes a weight loss supplement or ‘over the counter diet pill’ would be left the California State Department of Health.

In addition to the provisions for sequestering the products, the bill would mandate that the health department develop a warning to be displayed along with teh products.  In the bill’s language that warning would advise that, “certain dietary supplements for weight loss or over-the-counter diet pills are known to cause gastrointestinal impairment, tachycardia, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, organ failure, other serious injury, death, and severe liver injury sometimes requiring transplant or leading to death.”

The bill also mandates a fine of up to $1,000 for a violation.  The bill is scheduled for its first possible committee hearing on March 22.

Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of NPA noted that that fine is greater than that for the noncompliant sale of products actually proven to harm health. 

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