Get Your Ephedra While You Can


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.