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Lawsuit calls Xenadrine RFA-1 'Poisonous Cocktail'

Jul 17, 2003 | AP

The widow of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler has sued the manufacturers of a dietary supplement containing ephedra for $600 million.

The 23-year-old Bechler was taking the supplement to lose weight at the start of spring training when he collapsed Feb. 16 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. His body temperature rose to more than 108 degrees and he died the next day. A bottle of Xenadrine RFA-1 was found in Bechler's locker.

The lawsuit calls the product, Xenadrine RFA-1, a "poisonous cocktail" unsafe for human consumption.

Toxicology tests confirmed "significant amounts'' of an over-the-counter supplement containing ephedra led to Bechler's heatstroke, along with other factors, the medical examiner said.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Kiley Bechler in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, also seeks a ban on the sale of ephedra-based products.

The lawsuit names Manasquan, N.J.-based Cytodyne Technologies and its president, Robert Chinery, and Hicksville, N.Y.-based Phoenix Laboratories. A receptionist who answered the phone Thursday at Cytodyne said no one was immediately available to comment.

In the past, Cytodyne has criticized Meiselman for blaming the company, saying Bechler had a history of heat-related illnesses.

Ephedra products are marketed in drug stores, convenience stores and gyms as a weight-loss and energy miracle pill made from natural herbs, but the Food and Drug Administration has said the drug is blamed for nearly 120 deaths nationwide.

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