Administration’s Action on Ephedra: Too Little, Too Late
Congress Needs to Change Dietary Supplement Law
February 28, 2003
The following is the statement of Bruce Silverglade, CSPI director of legal affairs:
“It’s unfortunate that the Department of Health and Human Services is merely proposing an ephedra warning label, first suggested by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997, seeking public comment on health risks, and stopping some misleading health claims.
“The FDA should ban the over-the-counter sale of ephedra, but as Secretary Thompson noted, the current law places a ‘tough burden’ on the government that prevents it from removing dangerous dietary supplements from the marketplace. So now, it is up to Congress to enact legislation making it easier for the FDA to restrict the sales of ephedra and other herbal medicines that should not be used without a doctor’s prescription.
“Ephedra has probably caused far more deaths and serious adverse reactions than any other dietary supplement on the market. If the FDA cannot restrict the sale of ephedra, there is little hope that it could protect consumers against other dietary supplements that pose substantial health risks.”