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Jury Awards $7.4 Million In Ephedra Lawsuit

Woman suffered brain damage after taking Metabolife supplement

Jun 24, 2004 | AP A jury awarded $7.4 million to a woman who suffered brain damage in a stroke two years ago after taking a diet supplement that contained the now-banned herbal stimulant ephedra.

The jury found Wednesday that San Diego-based marketer Metabolife International acted maliciously when it falsely told state and federal regulators that its Metabolife supplement had no adverse effects and that the company had comprehensive safety monitoring procedures.

Rhea McAllister was awarded $2.4 million in actual damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

Ephedra was once widely used for weight loss and bodybuilding, with industry groups claiming at least 12 million users. The amphetamine-like stimulant, which speeds the heart rate and constricts blood vessels, has now been linked to 155 deaths, including that of Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler, and the federal government banned it in April.

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