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NYC Lawmakers Eye Ephedra Sales Ban

Apr 30, 2003 | AP

Lawmakers plan to introduce a bill that would ban the sale of ephedra in New York City.

Under the bill, sponsored by City Council members James Oddo and Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the unauthorized sale of the herb would be punishable by a $1,000 fine.

The bill, which will be introduced Wednesday, would still allow doctors to prescribe ephedra as a treatment for conditions other than obesity or fatigue.

Last month, Suffolk County passed what was described as the first ban of the amphetaminelike stimulant.

Ephedra, a popular herb commonly used for weight loss and body building, was criticized recently when Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler collapsed and died from heat stroke during spring training. A coroner said ephedra contributed to Bechler's death.

The FDA has reports of 100 deaths among ephedra users, and a report in the New England Journal of Medicine two years ago cited about 1,000 reports of complications linked to the herb since the mid-1990s.

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