The US Food and Drug Administration must make consumers more aware of the risks of the ephedra diet supplement, which has been linked to the death of a Baltimore Orioles pitcher, Steve Bechler, among other people, lawmakers said.
The FDA ”has failed to be aggressive enough in confronting this growing problem,” said Representative Billy Tauzin, the Louisiana Republican who leads the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the FDA.
The committee’s investigative unit held an ephedra hearing yesterday and will meet again today in Washington. The American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians want to ban the herbal stimulant.
Ephedra, sold to aid in weight loss and improve athletic performance, may cause symptoms including heart palpitations. In rare cases, the ingredient may disturb heart rhythm, doctors say.