HEALTH

Westchester County mulls ban on cough medicine sales to minors

BY Adam Kraemer

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Lawmakers in New York’s Westchester County, concerned about abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine ingredient DXM, are considering a ban on the sale of such medicines to anyone under the age of 18.

Two committees were formed by the county Board of Legislators to examine the ramifications of such a ban, according to published reports.

“There is growing usage of these medications as a means of getting high, especially among students in the middle school and high school,” Judy Myers, a member of both the Community Services and Legislation committees, was quoted as saying.

The nearby counties of Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island have both adopted legislation restricting the sales of those cough medicines, though Westchester lawmakers are also weighing the alternative option of allowing the sales to minors, but limiting the amount they may purchase.

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Twelve dietary supplements recalled

BY Diana Alickaj

WASHINGTON Herbal Science International has announced that it will recall twelve of its dietary supplements because they may pose a serious health hazard for consumers, according to published reports.

The supplements each contain ephedra, which can have dangerous effects on the heart, aristolochic acid which can cause cancer and/or kidney damage, or human placenta, which can contain diseases, according to published reports.

The Food and Drug Administration, as a result, sent out a warning for those who purchased the products to immediately stop using them and return them for a full refund, or if they experienced any reactions to contact a doctor immediately.

The products that have been recalled are Wu Yao Shun Qi San; Qing Bi Tang (nasal cleanser); Zhong Fong Huo Luo Wan (stroke revito formula); Xiao Qing Long Tang (Little Green Dragon); Ding Chuan Tang; Xiao Xu Ming Tang; Feng Shi Zhi Tong Wan (joint relief); Guo Min Bi Yan Wan; Fang Feng Tong Sheng San; Tou Tong San (headache formula); Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang (Du Huo joint relief); and Seng Jong Tzu Tong Tan.

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FDA commissioner uses blog to defend dietary supplement industry

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. Food and Drug Administration commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach on Thursday defended the dietary supplement industry through his blog site “Andy’s Take.”

“You might be interested to read on our website about recent actions by the FDA to warn consumers about certain liquid dietary supplement products containing hazardous levels of selenium,” he wrote. “My take on this is that although the vast majority of companies are marketing safe and effective products, from time to time products will get into circulation that turn out to be dangerous to you. Protecting you against these dangerous products can be enhanced with you, the public, as a partner with FDA.”

In that one sentence, Eschenbach refutes two misperceptions sometimes associated with the dietary supplement industry—one, that dietary supplement manufacturers are like so many snake-oil salesmen in promoting their products; and two, that the FDA does not actively and vigorously regulate the dietary supplement industry.

“In the last 15 years, FDA’s criminal investigations resulted in more than 4,500 arrests, more than 3,500 convictions, and more than $5.7 billion in fines and restitution of illegal profits,” Eschenbach reported.

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