FDA lifts ban on ephedra

The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it is lifting the 10-year ban on weight-loss blockbuster botanical ephedra, a significant reversal on what was the No. 1 natural ingredient in the marketplace.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it is lifting the 10-year ban on weight-loss blockbuster botanical ephedra, a significant reversal on what was the No. 1 natural ingredient in the marketplace.

In its announcement, FDA cited both the epidemic of obesity in the country as well as the recent contamination and recall scandal around the pharmaceutical weight-loss drug, Alli.

“Ephedra, when taken as directed – no more than 90mg/day and not to be taken by those with pre-existing heart conditions – is safe and effective for those looking to lose weight,” said David Fabrican’t, the FDA’s point person on dietary supplement regulations.

The move also revealed the FDA’s long-held contempt for supplements, which it has always ascribed zero benefit and all potential risk, versus the rubric for pharmaceutical drugs, which always have a benefit though fraught with potential risks.

“Yes, the FDA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Pharma,” said Fabrican’t, “But since the pharma drug, Alli (Orlistat), is now caught up in a recall, we feel it is our responsibility to offer Americans at least some relief from obesity. I mean, the beach season is almost upon us!”

Fabrican’t cautioned his comments that the FDA has the authority to reinstate the ban on ephedra once Alli is found to be safe once again.

In the meantime, there have been reported long lines of overweight and wedding-ready consumers across large swaths of the deep South, where the obese population now outnumbers the svelte.

“I’ll be ready for the redneck Riviera long before Memorial Day now!” exclaimed Belinda Myers, who married up back in 2002, but was then saddled with children and her own obese husband after the ban took effect. “I’ll have husband No. 2 in the bag before summer’s end. Hallelujah!”

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