View Full Version : Cassa Calls For Immediate Ban On Ephedra And Other Related Dietary Supplements!

01-01-2004, 03:56 PM

The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor (CASSA) today called upon the Health Ministry to immediate ban Ephedra and other dietary supplements which contains the said product, after U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned the weight-loss herb Ephedra because it poses unreasonable risks such as heart attacks and strokes.

It is pertinent that Malaysian health authorities immediately verify the presence and extent of the usage of the said product in Malaysia.

It is also crucial that an immediate ban be announced and all health stores and pharmacies be notified to recall the said product.

"We need to ascertain if dietary supplements containing (Ephedra) are widespread, have been heavily promoted and widely used by Malaysian consumers.

In view of the threat it poses an immediate ban must be imposed.”

CASSA is advised that Ephedra, also known as ‘ma huang’, is a stimulant that raises blood pressure and stresses the circulatory system, effects that have been linked to serious heart problems, strokes and deaths.

Ephedra is an adrenaline-like stimulant that can have potentially dangerous effects on the heart,"

The FDA has reports of 155 deaths of people who took Ephedra and more than 16,500 complaints.

Ephedra has been promoted for losing weight, boosting energy and enhancing sports performance.

The substance had already been banned by the International Olympic Committee and the National Football League.

CASSA is advised by their US counterparts that in the year 2001, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen petitioned the government to ban it outright.

CASSA maintains the case of Ephedra makes it clear that there are too many healthy sounding "herbal" potions and pills that can be obtained without a prescription and have not been sufficiently tested to make sure they are safe, let alone effective.

Any product linked to thousands of "adverse" health reports should not be on the market, or at least should be tightly regulated.

The Ministry of Health must move more quickly to protect consumers from questionable products that may endanger lives.

Ephedra, used for weight loss and bodybuilding, has been linked to 155 deaths, including that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler last February, and dozens of heart attacks and strokes.

Millions of consumers throughout the world have used Ephedra dietary supplements as a safe, inexpensive and effective means by which to support weight loss

Dato' Dr. Jacob George

President/Legal adviser


02-01-2004, 07:01 PM
Hello there - Happy New Year 2004 to all our friends at CASSA!

Thank you for this update - but the DG of Health Services seem to have replied that this dietary supplement is not registered in Malaysia and as such "not in Malaysia" - apa itu?

Saya fikir he is misinformed - jus be'cause supplement not registered does not mean tiada di-pasaran brother DG!

You tahu the thousands of supplement that are marketed thru' these direct selling companies and the notorious agents - who say they need to register if under DSC?

Check lah brother DG - do not become defensive! jika nak assistance kawan kawan kita dalam CASSA boleh tolong!

Jangan marah o.k. Buat kerja dulu as Pak lah kata!

02-01-2004, 07:14 PM
Happy New Year 2 u too, 'Topguru'.

1. You are right - all we want is for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to exercise their role in checking, whether this supplement is available, in the market and to take immediate steps, if they are.

2. You are indeed right that there are many "Health Supplements" marketed through Direct Selling Groups and "under the counter sales" that may not have been registered at the MOH!

3. All we want is to be vigilant and not having to react only, after several have been dignosed ill or worse still - dead!

Our President/Legal Adviser has an execellent relationship with the YB Minister & MOH leadership and as such, we are confident MOH will work closely with CASSA!

Thank you very much for your continued support and encouragement.

Puan Noor

02-01-2004, 07:37 PM

Q: What is ephedra?

A: Ephedra is a plant with varieties growing in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. It is called Ma Huang in China where it has been used for 4,000 years to treat respiratory infections. A wild variety in the U.S. Southwest was used medicinally by early settlers to brew "Mormon tea" or "Squaw tea." Typically, the whole plant is powdered and used in pills or other preparations.

Q: What is the medical action of ephedra?

A: Ephedra contains two alkaloids, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. These compounds can combat congestion and ease breathing in some conditions. But the chemicals in ephedra also affect the heart and can cause a serious rise in blood pressure. A synthetic ephedrine is used in a very limited way in a small number of drugs prescribed for respiratory infections.

Q: What is the most common use of ephedra?

A: Ephedra has been found in about 200 dietary supplements sold over the counter. Ephedra has been promoted at health food stores. Manufacturers and retailers have claimed the herb is good for weight control, building muscle and boosting energy. FDA's power to regulate the dietary supplements is more limited than for prescription drugs. The agency can ban risky supplements only after gathering evidence of injury.

Q: Why is ephedra now being banned by the FDA?

A: After years of studying, the FDA has concluded that continued sale and use of products containing ephedra "pose an unreasonable health risk." There have been about 1,000 reports of serious health complications from the use of ephedra and at least 100 deaths. The herb has already been banned in three states. Most organized athletic groups either outright ban use of ephedra and ephedrine, or severely discourage their use. A 23-year-old pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles who died suddenly was taking ephedra.

Q: Do companies making or selling ephedra products have a right of appeal to the FDA order?

A: Yes, they can sue. FDA officials said they are ready for the new ephedra rule to be challenged in court.

Q: Is the FDA evaluating other dietary supplements?

A: Yes. Officials said that other products are being looked at, but no immediate action is expected. An FDA publication lists a number of herb supplement ingredients with "possible health hazards," including chaparral, comfrey, willow bark and wormwood.