Get Your Ephedra While You Can

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It's been almost a year since a federal judge in Utah ruled that the FDA's ephedra ban did not have a sound legal basis. Although she enjoined the FDA from taking enforcement action against Nutraceutical, the company that brought the case, for selling dietary supplements containing a daily ephedrine dose of 10 milligrams or less, Nutraceutical has not resumed sales of such products. But a few other companies have, including World Class Nutrition, which last month announced a new line of ephedra-containing supplements: Powerdrine, Ripped Mahuang, and Metabo Mahuang. "These products are going to take the over the counter diet pill industry by storm," the company predicted, adding, "A spokesman for WCN suggests taking advantage of the availability of the weight loss pills while they are available."

As that sales tactic suggests, the ultimate legal status of ephedra is still up in the air. Instead of writing a new ephedra rule that complies with the Nutraceutical ruling, the FDA has appealed the decision. There does not appear to be any mention of the case on the agency's Web site, where a search on "ephedra" turns up nothing more recent than the February 2004 imposition of the ban. Maybe the FDA was hoping it could ignore its defeat and no one would notice.

NEXT: Three Cheers for Appeasement!

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  1. “Ripped Mahuang?” Read phonetically, that’s pretty funny.

  2. Maybe the FDA was hoping it could ignore its defeat and no one would notice

    I noticed, and I made sure many other people did as well.

  3. Did anyone else catch the “The Meth Epidemic” on Frontline last night? …it may have been a rerun. If I’d had to guess, I would have guessed it was produced by the DEA.

    It made some claims about how they won the War on Quaaludes (which I’d be interested to see confirmed), and it suggested that they were trying the same thing with meth. …but it seemed to infer (perhaps unintentionally) that regulation of ephedrine manufacturers, enforcement of those regulations and carding consumers is effective in combating meth usage rates–more so than criminalizing use. …I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but that approach seems preferable to me in the same way that I’d rather have subsidies than tarrifs.

  4. …um, I guess that’s a tricky link.

  5. Most meth comes in from Mexico. Tracking of the industrial chemicals used in manufacturing meth would be the most effective enforcment tool to fight domestic meth production (hint: don’t tell the meth makers you are tracking it mr DEA man).

    And of course legalization would dry up the profit motive entirely.

    It’s all about big bribery by big pharma to protect their monopoly on dangerous, ineffective, prescription diet drugs.

  6. Um, ephedrine is no longer over-the-counter. The law that will make us all sign a log whenever we buy cough medecine (the Combat Meth Act, just passed as part of the PATRIOT reauthorization) regulate pseudoephedrine and its optical isomers (i.e. ephedrine)

  7. Meanwhile on VIOXX, the courts are doing things the FDA should have done if the FDA wasn’t such a putz.

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