Pulaski Law Firm no longer accepts these cases, however our law firm successfully settled hundreds of claims on behalf of clients who were injured by using ephedra products.
In November, 2002, a $4.1 million jury verdict was obtained against Metabolife International. The company was ordered to pay this amount to four people who claimed they suffered from strokes or heart problems because they took the company’s ephedra diet pills.
According to the FDA, Metabolife was currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. This criminal investigation began back in August, 2002.
Originating from the Ephedra plant, ephedrine had been advertised as a time-tested Chinese herb (“ma huang”) that would relieve asthma and allergy symptoms, as well as enhance athletic performance and weight loss.
Ephedrine was the active ingredient found in popular diet pills, over-the-counter decongestants, allergy medications, herbal energy boosters and herbal asthma remedies.
As an over the counter herbal supplement, ephedrine was not regulated by the FDA. However, the FDA had proposed to establish a finding that a dietary supplement is adulterated if it contains 8 milligrams or more of ephedrine alkaloids per serving within a six hour period or a daily total intake of 24 mg or more of ephedrine alkaloids. The proposition also requires the labels of such supplements to state that the product is not to be used for more than seven days.
The FDA proposed the above action after receiving over 800 adverse events associated with the use of the dietary supplements that contain ephedrine alkaloids and reviewing scientific literature and other data concerning ephedrine alkaloids. The FDA had received approximately 14,775 comments in response to its ephedrine alkaloid proposal.
In response to growing concern about the safety of ephedra alkaloids in dietary supplements, the FDA requested an independent review of reports of adverse events related to the use of ephedrine so it could assess causation and determine the level of risk these products pose to consumers.
Researchers at the University of San Francisco and California Poison Control System conducted an in-depth review of and applied a standardized rating system for assessing causation to 140 reports of adverse events involving dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloids that were submitted to the FDA between June 01, 1997 and March 31, 1999.
Of the adverse events reported, 47% involved cardiovascular symptoms, while 18% involved the central nervous system. Hypertension was the single most frequent adverse reaction, followed by tachycardia, stroke and seizures. Ten of the recorded cases resulted in death and 13 events produced permanent disability. In total, the FDA had reported over 40 deaths and over 800 serious side effects linked to Ephedrine.
Attorney Adam Pulaski said, “the primary goals of the Ephedrine Investigation are to (1) inform the public of the facts regarding Ephedrine use; (2) promote awareness of potentially negative consequences associated with Ephedrine use; and (3) prevent the increasing over consumption of products containing Ephedrine.”
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