EPHEDRINE BAN MAY NOT AFFECT METH PRODUCTION
The Food and Drug Administration's official ban on dietary
supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids (ephedra) will go into
On Feb. 6, the FDA issued a final rule prohibiting the sale of
dietary supplements containing ephedra "because such supplements
present an unreasonable risk of illness or injury" and stated that the
rule would become effective 60 days from the date of
"In December, we advised consumers to stop using ephedra products, and
we asked responsible companies to stop selling them," said FDA
Commissioner Mark B. McClellan. "We intend to use this regulation to
make sure consumers are protected by removing these risky products
from the market."
Companies that fail to stop distribution of dietary supplements that
contain ephedrine alkaloid products, such as ephedra, Ma huang, Sida
cordifolia and pinellia, by Monday will face any number of FDA
enforcement possibilities, including "seizure of the product,
injunction against the manufacturers and distributors of such products
and criminal prosecution."
The rule does not include traditional Chinese herbal remedies and
generally does not apply to products like herbal teas that are
regulated as conventional foods.
In recent years, ephedrine has been used as a key ingredient in
methamphetamine production, but it is usually extracted from cold
medicines. When it is chemically synthesized, it is regulated as a
drug. Under law, drug companies that produce products like cold
medicine containing ephedrine must prove to the FDA that its product
is safe for consumers before it can be marketed.
John Evans, 4th Judicial Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force director,
said in January he didn't feel the ban would have any effect on meth
production in Tennessee.
Meth cooks have not been known to extract the chemical from dietary
supplements, according to Evans.
For more information about ephedra and the FDA ban, visit www.fda.gov
or call 1-888-INFO-FDA.