The Ephedra Ban By The FDA

By: Todd Massey

There is plenty of public confusion about the legality of ephedra products in the United States and whether it can still be purchased. Discover more about the status of the ephedra ban.

Places selling ephedra diet pills have taken advantage of the confusion in the market place since consumers don't really know whether ephedra is legal or not. They are selling ephedra mimics and ephedra like products even though nothing worked like ephedra did.

The reason for the confusion goes back to 2004 when the FDA said the herb ephedra used in products for weight loss, energy, etc. to be considered adulterated, harmful to the public and illegal to sell.

The Nutraceutical Corporation challenged the legality of the ephedra ban and in 2005 a Utah judge ruled in their favor. The challenge to the ruling related to the fact that the FDA had declared all quantities of ephedra were dangerous. The FDA had not shown or proven that smaller quantities of ephedra, such as 10 mg instead of the normal 20 mg, were harmful.

So during 2005 and 2006 companies jumped back in and began manufacturing and started selling the popular weight loss products with 10 mg of ephedra. But during this time the FDA's official line was ephedra products were dangerous to the public and illegal to make and sell.

In fact, the FDA used U.S. marshals to raid several companies and seized large quantities of weight loss products that contained ephedra.

The production and selling of ephedra was once again delcared illegal in August, 2006 when the 10th US Court of Appeals upheld the FDA's position that ephedra was a harmful substance. It is no longer legal to sell or make ephedra products in the U.S. no matter what it is used for or how much ephedra is in the product.

The same company, Nutraceutical Corporation, in October 2006 has put forth another legal challenge and has filed a petition for rehearing in the 10th circuit of the US Court of Appeals proclaiming the FDA's assessment of unreasonable risk is too strict and allows the agency too much license to declare any dietary ingredient adulterated.

As of right now ephedra weight loss pills are considered illegal by the U.S. government.

That could change but doesn't seem likely due to the fact that Congress is rewriting the laws regarding supplements and herbs. The newly worded laws will make it easier for the FDA to take action and ban substances they deem harmful to the general public.

The effectiveness and safety of ephedra was supported by social proof in the marketplace. People bought and used ephedra for over 10 years with many of them coming back again and again to repurchase these products. Even without scientific proof that alone shows that ephedra worked and was safe.

If ephedra had been as dangerous as the FDA made it out to be it would have disappeared from store shelves. But millions of people continue to search for it even while it is illegal showing they did not think that it was a danger to use and that it worked for weight loss.

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