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NEWS AND COMMENTARY

N.J. Regulators Take Hard Look At Diet-Pill Mills

New Jersey would become the fourth state to enact regulations governing distribution of weight-loss drugs, if a state Board of Medical Examiners proposal is approved.

The proposal would require that physicians prescribing weight-loss pills embrace a holistic approach to care -- take patients' medical histories, check for diabetes and hypertension, give advice about diet and exercise -- before prescribing. Physicians would be permitted to write for an initial 30-day supply, but would be unable to authorize refills without a follow-up visit to check progress.

Ohio, Tennessee, and Louisiana now regulate diet-drug distribution. New Jersey's proposed regulations are the only ones based on guidelines developed by the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, who treat obesity.