Washington, D.C., June 27, 2016—The Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, welcomed the dismissal of Puerto Rico Senate Bill (SB) 1599, which would have amended the Puerto Rico Pharmacy Law, defining natural products and dietary supplements. The bill attempted to legitimize Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) Administrative Order 346, which would have unfairly taxed the dietary supplement industry. The legislation raised concern—and strong opposition—because dietary supplements are already defined and regulated under the current federal law, and additional taxes would have increased the cost of supplements to consumers. The bill was being considered in the Puerto Rico Legislature, but it failed to move in the House of Representatives last Saturday by the legislatively imposed deadline.
“We are very pleased with the results of our opposition and to see that SB 1599 did not move beyond this point. It would have created an unfair tax on dietary supplements, products that many Puerto Ricans rely on as an important component of their health and wellness regimens, as well as added redundant regulation to an already well-regulated product category,” said Mike Greene, vice president of government relations, CRN.
Upon first learning about the administrative order and subsequent detrimental legislation in Puerto Rico, CRN immediately kick-started efforts in opposition, engaging with the Puerto Rico Department of Health, contacting Puerto Rico Senate and House members and circulating letters of opposition. The association also brought on board strategic public affairs counsel with extensive knowledge and experience in the Puerto Rican market, conducted outreach with a coalition of retailers who also stand to face increased costs from the fees, and elevated grassroots with the help and support of companies. “The success in defeating this bill is due to the collective effort of the industry and the fact that Puerto Ricans want reasonable access to these products. CRN is pleased to have garnered such strength in numbers with the help of its member companies, industry allies and consumers,” said Mr. Greene. “However, we’re keeping close watch on what’s happening in Puerto Rico and staying vigilant to protect the industry and the people who value dietary supplements.”