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Public Citizen Calls on Government to Seize 10 Products Containing Synthetic Ephedra

Jan. 31, 2002

Public Citizen Calls on Government to Seize 10 Products Containing Synthetic Ephedra

Synthetic Compounds in Dietary Supplements Violate Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Public Citizen is asking the government to seize 10 products being marketed on the Internet as dietary supplements because they contain synthetic ephedra. Including synthetic compounds in dietary supplements is expressly prohibited by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

In a letter sent today to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Public Citizen names nine dietary supplement manufacturers that are marketing the 10 products. Some even advertise their products as “pharmaceutical grade” compounds.

Ephedra is a dangerous substance associated with more reports of death, heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension and seizure than all other food supplements combined, noted Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen?s Health Research Group.

“Despite your oft-professed concern for food safety, your Department has been grossly negligent in protecting Americans from what is clearly the most dangerous drug that masquerades as a food supplement, ephedra,” Wolfe wrote.

Last June, Canada issued an advisory warning people not to use products containing any form of ephedra. The warning was based partially on adverse event reports received by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In September, Public Citizen and noted clinical pharmacologist Dr. Ray Woosley petitioned Thompson to ban all ephedra supplements. This month, Canada called for a recall of all ephedra products of certain dosages, that are combined with stimulants, or that are marketed for weight control or performance enhancement. This type of a recall would effectively cover all ephedra products currently marketed in the United States.

The 10 products are Adrenalin, Ephedrine 25, Hollywood Cuts, Lipodryl 90, Ephedrol, Phenylkinetics, Overdrive, Adipokinetix, Alphadrine and Meta-Burn Extreme. Public Citizen?s letter is available on the Web.