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NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
P04-16
February 5, 2004

U.S. Attorney's Office:
Samantha Martin, 617-748-3139
FDA Media Inquiries:
Laura Bradbard, 301-827-6242

FDA Seizes Ephedra-Containing Dietary Supplements From On-Line Massachusetts Company for Unsubstantiated Athletic Performance Claims

[NOTE: Fifth paragraph revised 2/19/04 to clarify the legal basis for FDA's action.]

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced today the seizure of ephedra-containing dietary supplements Betatrim, Thermbuterol, and Stacker 2, from Musclemaster.com in Northboro, Mass.

According to a complaint filed with the federal district court, it is alleged that Musclemaster.com was making unsubstantiated claims on its websites for the ephedra-containing products. Specifically, it is alleged that Musclemaster.com claimed that its products enhanced the athletic and muscle performance of consumers without adequate scientific basis to support such claims.

Today's seizure included 381 bottles of Betatrim Dietary Supplement; 38 bottles of Thermbuterol "Fat Burner Energizer"; 402 bottles of "Stacker Packer" Stacker 2, 100 count; and 105 bottles of "Stacker Packer" Stacker 2, 20 count.

"Consumers must have accurate and truthful health information so they can make informed choices, and the FDA will continue its aggressive enforcement efforts against companies that make misleading claims about their products," said Dr. Mark McClellan.

Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, products labeled as dietary supplements can make structure and function claims, but they cannot make such claims without adequate scientific evidence substantiating the claims. The labeling of dietary supplements must be truthful and not misleading. There is an inadequate scientific basis for claims of enhanced athletic performance for ephedra-containing dietary supplements.

"When purchasing dietary supplements, individuals need to know that the claims on the products' labeling are accurate," stated U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan. "We in law enforcement will do all in our power to assist in ensuring that consumers are protected and are being provided correct information when making their purchases."

The case was investigated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelbey D. Wright, Chief of Sullivan's Asset Forfeiture Unit.

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