First Do No Harm


Reader uberkind sends along a link to this story about the latest front in the war against muscular baseball players. Bureaucratic overreach, proving a negative–what's not to love about the Food and Drug Administration?

The government will crack down on the steroidlike supplement taken by Mark McGwire, telling companies Thursday to quit selling androstenedione unless they can prove it's not dangerous.

Anabolic steroids, which build muscle, are controlled substances. But andro—because it is a precursor, not the steroid itself—has long been marketed as a dietary supplement and been sold over the counter. U.S. law lets dietary supplements sell with little oversight to ensure they're safe.

But the FDA is citing a seldom-used provision of that law that defines as a dietary supplement natural ingredients that were on the market before 1994—and says manufacturers must prove that any new ingredients are safe before selling them as supplements.