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NY Tightens Grip on Supplement Manufactures and Retail

21st March 2007 by Arrow Durfee Posted in Uncategorized

What Happens in New York, Doesn’t Stay in New York: TAKE ACTION NOW!
www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/Citizens/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=6982

March, 2007 – Unlike Las Vegas, New York is not a convenient black hole or alternate universe where everyday laws or rules observed at home do not apply. Unfortunately in this case, New York – like California – is a state that other states look to in setting policies and creating new laws. Case in point: four new bills introduced by New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-51st District) in the New York State legislature taking aim at the vitamin and supplement industry:

Bill A3944: requiring “that anyone selling dietary supplements that make health or appearance claims possess competent and scientific evidence substantiating those claims”; also requires a warning statement on the product label or “handout” if the product claim is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA);

Bill A4014: Would prevent school employees, especially coaches, from recommending dietary supplements to students and require schools to warn students of the risks of certain supplements;

Bill A3357: Proposes the establishment of a dietary supplements safety committee that will, apparently, create “adequate standards and enforcement for manufacturing, safety and effectiveness” of dietary supplements; and Bill A2068: Would require labeling to indicate which products have been tested by the FDA for “purity.”

Wow – where does one begin?

First off, would Bill 3944 require retailers to research, identify, warehouse and make available the many thousands upon thousands of published studies supportive of individual ingredients and of finished products? Would manufacturers or distributors need to send boxloads of data to retailers with every shipment of product?

Regarding Bill 4014 – will health teachers be forbidden from discussing the health benefits of nutritional supplements in health and nutrition courses? Will these teachers and coaches be required to warn students about the dangers of Ritalin and the overprescription of antibiotics and other FDA-approved drugs?

I doubt it.

As to Bill 3357, does Assemblyman Ortiz believe that the New York State legislature has greater expertise than the FDA? Than USP? Than NSF? Than the FDA GMPs? Than scientists around the world? Has he heard of DSHEA?

And finally, Bill 2068, regarding purity of supplements, does Mr. Ortiz have any idea about standard testing of products followed and carried out by manufacturers? Does he have a clue as to the responsibilities of the FDA and the responsibilities of industry?

Based on the disingenuous, and appallingly misinformed, nature of the language and the goals of these bills, I think not. Then again, well-intentioned yet ridiculous laws are passed every day across the land, so screening for common sense, rationality and regulatory competence is not a given.

“This industry would be turned upside down if these bills were to pass,” said NNFA East president Andrew Fox. “Assemblyman Ortiz wants to put safe and well-regulated dietary supplements in the same bag as toxic chemicals – all under the guise of ‘consumer safety.’”

The NNFA East New York State Task Force is seeking support from manufacturers and retailers who sell their products in New York to cover their expected campaign needs of $100,000 (legal, lobbyist, grassroots campaign and media).

With support, NNFAEast will be able to mount significant opposition in Albany to prevent the passage of these potentially devastating pieces of legislation from becoming law in New York, Fox added.

The costs for hiring a lobbyist are estimated at $50,000 for this legislative session, said Fox. “We truly believe that both Houses will act on this legislation in committee after they finish with the budgetary process in early April. The time to start our lobbying efforts is now if we are to be successful.”

NNFA East will be collaborating with Citizens for Health on a grassroots initiative to publicize the dangers of such legislation related to the availability of vitamins and supplements if the law is passed.

For additional information, call Andrew Fox at (315)432-1885 or email andy@needs.com, or call Paul Kushner, executive director, NNFAEast, (856)985-5446 or execdir@nnfaeast.org.

Let’s support NNFA East and put the kibosh on these dangerously misguided bills – and not just for the good of consumers in New York but for the good of the country.

If you are a resident of New York, please contact your state legislators and urge them to vote “No” on these bills by clicking the “Take Action” button -

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