Diet Supplement Ephedra Banned

Dec 30, 2003 -- The US Food and Drug Administration announced today that it will ban the weight-loss herb ephedra. HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan made the announcement at 11:30 AM. This is the first time the FDA has outlawed a dietary supplement. A study of 16,000 adverse event reports found 2 deaths, 4 heart attacks and 9 strokes involving ephedra in which there were no other known contributing factors. Makers insist ephedra, a stimulant, is safe when taken as directed.

Personal Comment: We are in favor of this action by the US government. It is warranted on the basis of the medical facts. Dietary supplements are drugs and should be regulated as drugs by the FDA to protect our health.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors,

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