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CVS to Stop Ephedra-Based Sales in August

Jul 11, 2003 | AP

CVS Corp. Friday said it will stop selling all ephedra-based diet products at its 4,100 drug stores Aug 1.

Ephedra is an herbal ingredient found in dietary supplements. Ephedra and its manufacturers have come under increased scrutiny after a Major League Baseball player died with the drug in his system early this year.

"With several communities where we have stores taking steps to ban products with ephedra, we have decided to discontinue the sale of these products," said Chris Bodine, the Woonsocket company's executive vice president of merchandising and marketing.

A number of other companies have taken steps to stop ephedra sales. General Nutrition Centers, the nation's largest chain of dietary supplement stores, has said it will halt all sales of ephedra. The state of Illinois has also banned ephedra sales.

On July 1, the Federal Trade Commission announced three enforcement actions that challenged what it said was false advertising claims that ephedra supplements cause rapid, substantial and permanent weight loss without diet or exercise.

In March, the Food and Drug Administration said every bottle of ephedra soon will carry warnings that the herb can cause potentially fatal heart attacks or strokes. That decision came soon after the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.

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