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Lawmakers Ask FDA To Ban Ephedra

Nov 7, 2003 |

Lawmakers urged the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday to immediately ban the retail sale of ephedra, the dietary supplement they said has been linked to hundreds of deaths.

"Ephedra isn't snake oil it's snake venom," said Rep. Jim Greenwood, R-Pa., who chaired hearings on the supplement last summer in the wake of the death of a 23-year-old Baltimore Orioles pitcher who had been taking ephedra.

The FDA is considering a nationwide ephedra ban, similar to ones in New York, California and Illinois. But while U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson remains concerned about the supplement, "we are going as far as we can right now within the context of the law," said HHS spokesman Bill Pierce.

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