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Tomorrow at 10 am east coast US time there will a webcast Hearing from the US House of Representatives Commerce Committee- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/07232003hearing1021/hearing.htm

Even if you live outside the USA its important to watch the hearing and to keep abreast of its findings, if possible.

Below my comments is a letter the Oversight and Investigations Sub Committee sent to NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) grilling them over their policy regarding ephedra and whether or not they plan on banning it the way the NFL (National Football League), IOC (International Olympic Committee) and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) have.

It is clear from the way Congress is asking these questions that they will be seeking to rake the supplement industry over the coals in tomorrow's hearing, and that much negative press will result against our industry in the next few days due to this hearing. The Committee has made a big deal about the fact that they've subpoenaed several former Metabolife executives, forcing them to come before them to testify about supposed harm caused by their ephedra products. They are attempting to depict the supplement industry as "evil."

It is also very possible that if Congressman Waxman has drafted a House Companion Bill to S.722 (The Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2003) that he might announce it at the hearing due to the press coverage.

The committee's questioning of NASCAR clearly indicates their bias against ephedra supplements and against the supplement industry in general. Note that this hearing is taking place during the summer when huge numbers of people are on vacation. I think its highly likely that a House companion bill to S.722 will be introduced and announced during this hearing, or at the earliest, by early September.

WHAT TO DO: S.722 is not moving yet. It only has 3 senate cosponsors and no House companion bill. I am monitoring that. If it should begin to pose a serious threat (as it stands, it won't even get a Senate hearing), I will sound an alarm regarding it.

Currently, the need to donate to the ANH lawsuit to overturn the EU Food Supplement Directive must take precedence for vitamin consumers world wide, see http://www.iahf.com/anh_lawsuit.html make donations via http://www.alliance-natural-health.org

Please forward this widely and watch the hearing tomorrow on the web if you possibly can. It will also be on on Thursday. The Cartel is attempting to use ephedra as the tip of their spear in going after the entire supplement industry claiming "safety concerns" while totally ignoring the fact that Rx drugs are currently the world's fourth leading cause of death. Their hypocrisy boggles the mind.

See the Committee's letter to NASCAR re Ephedra below:

Committee Leaders Question NASCAR Regarding the Use of Ephedra-Containing Supplements

April 9, 2003

Mr. Michael Helton
National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
P.O. Box 2875
Daytona Beach, FL 32120

Dear Mr. Helton:

The recent death of 23-year old Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, whose use of an ephedra-containing supplement was a contributing factor in his tragic death, according to the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, has raised questions about whether Federal action should be taken to address safety concerns related to ephedra-containing supplements. The Committee on Energy and Commerce has jurisdiction over matters relating to food and drugs, the regulation of commercial practices, including sports-related matters, and public health generally. Accordingly, we have initiated a comprehensive review of safety issues surrounding the use of ephedra-containing supplements.

In response to new studies providing additional evidence of safety concerns that may be associated with ephedra-containing supplements, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced several regulatory and enforcement actions intended to protect Americans from potentially serious risks of ephedra-containing supplements. HHS also issued a public statement cautioning the public about the use of ephedra-containing supplements, particularly in combination with strenuous exercise or other stimulants. Moreover, HHS is seeking expedited public comment on: (1) new evidence on health risks associated with ephedra to establish an up-to-date record as quickly as possible to support new restrictions on ephedra-containing products; (2) whether the currently available evidence and medical literature indicate a "significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury" from dietary supplements containing ephedra; and (3) a new warning label on any ephedra supplements that continue to be marketed.

According to various media accounts, ephedra has been linked to numerous deaths and 1,400 reports of health-related problems, including strokes, heart attacks and seizures. A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that compared the safety of ephedra supplements to other herbal supplements concluded that the relative risk for an adverse reaction from ephedra supplements was more than 100-fold higher compared to any other herb. The study also notes that 64% of all adverse reactions to herbal supplements in the U.S. came from supplements containing ephedra, while ephedra-containing products represented only 0.82% of herbal product sales. The recently released results of a RAND Corporation study commissioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides additional evidence that ephedra-containing supplements may be associated with increased health risks, while finding only limited evidence of health benefits resulting from ephedra use.

In light of the potential adverse effects of ephedra products, the National Football League ("NFL"), the International Olympic Committee ("IOC"), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA") have all banned the use of ephedra products by their respective athletes. Last week USA Today reported that a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing ("NASCAR") team trainer estimated about 80% of NASCAR crewmembers may have tried ephedra-containing products to boost energy or lose weight. This week, USA Today reported that NASCAR is reviewing its policy allowing the use of ephedra-containing products and is considering other options, including instituting a ban or regulating the use of ephedra-containing products among NASCAR's drivers and crews. The Committee is seeking clarification of NASCAR's policies (or lack of policies) with respect to the use of ephedra products among its racecar drivers and crews.

Due to recent press reports raising additional questions about the safety of ephedra products and NASCAR's decision to allow the use of ephedra products among its players, we are requesting that, pursuant to Rules X and XI of the U.S. House of Representatives, you provide the Committee with the information requested below by Wednesday, April 23, 2003.

From 1995 through the present, state whether NASCAR has procedures relating to reporting or tracking of adverse health events among professional racecar drivers and their crew. If so, identify the entities to which these reports are made, the individual(s) responsible for retaining such information, and describe the specific procedures and whether they apply to adverse events relating to dietary supplements (including, but not limited to, ephedra products). Provide a copy of all procedures described in this question.

All records relating to NASCAR's position on the use and/or ban of dietary supplements (including, but not limited to, ephedra products) by NASCAR drivers and crew.

State when NASCAR first adopted its "Substance Abuse Policy" and began random drug tests of drivers and crew and explain NASCAR's decision to include certain types of legal substances, such as cough syrup with codeine, in its "Substance Abuse Policy." Provide all copies of NASCAR's "Substance Abuse Policy" from its inception to the present.

State whether any employee(s) or agent(s) of NASCAR has reviewed or requested a review of any scientific literature that concerns the health effects of dietary supplements (including, but not limited to, ephedra products) on athletes or other persons. If so, provide the following information:

The name of author and title and date of literature;

The identity of the person(s) within NASCAR (or person acting at its request) that reviewed the literature;

The date when the literature was reviewed; and

All records relating to such review.

State whether employees or agents of NASCAR did any analysis or review of the NFL's, NCAA's or IOC's decisions to ban the use of ephedra products. If so, provide all records that relate to such analysis and/or review.

From 1995 through the present, state whether NASCAR had any meetings where the topic of the banning and/or use of dietary supplements (including ephedra) were considered. If so, provide the date of the meeting, identity of each participant at the meeting and all records of the meeting that relate to the banning and/or use of dietary supplements by professional athletes or other persons.

State whether NASCAR has received or reviewed any health complaints or notification of adverse health events relating to ingestion of dietary supplements (including, but not limited to, ephedra products) by NASCAR drivers or crewmembers. If so, provide the number of complaints, an identifier for each complainant, the date of each complaint, the person or entity to which each complaint was referred, and a description of the resolution of each complaint, including any action taken by NASCAR or other entity in response.

State the NASCAR's current position on the use and/or banning of dietary supplements (including ephedra), as well as on random testing of players for dietary supplements (including ephedra), and whether NASCAR has any plans to formally review their current policy or to create a policy relating to the use of ephedra products by its players.

Please note that, for purposes of responding to this request, the terms "records" and "relating" should be interpreted in accordance with the attachment to this letter. The term "you" or "your" means the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing or one or more of its divisions, subsidiaries or affiliates, or related entities.

If you have any questions, please contact Alan Slobodin, at (202) 225-2927 or Kelli Andrews, at (202) 226-2424, of the Committee Staff.


W.J. "Billy" Tauzin

Michael Bilirakis
Subcommittee on Health

Cliff Stearns
Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection

James C. Greenwood
Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations


The term "records" is to be construed in the broadest sense and shall mean any written or graphic material, however produced or reproduced, of any kind or description, consisting of the original and any non-identical copy (whether different from the original because of notes made on or attached to such copy or otherwise) and drafts and both sides thereof, whether printed or recorded electronically or magnetically or stored in any type of data bank, including, but not limited to, the following: correspondence, memoranda, records, summaries of personal conversations or interviews, minutes or records of meetings or conferences, opinions or reports of consultants, projections, statistical statements, drafts, contracts, agreements, purchase orders, invoices, confirmations, telegraphs, telexes, agendas, books, notes, pamphlets, periodicals, reports, studies, evaluations, opinions, logs, diaries, desk calendars, appointment books, tape recordings, video recordings, e-mails, voice mails, computer tapes, or other computer stored matter, magnetic tapes, microfilm, microfiche, punch cards, all other records kept by electronic, photographic, or mechanical means, charts, photographs, notebooks, drawings, plans, inter-office communications, intra-office and intra-departmental communications, transcripts, checks and canceled checks, bank statements, ledgers, books, records or statements of accounts, and papers and things similar to any of the foregoing, however denominated.

The terms "relating," "relate," or "regarding" as to any given subject means anything that constitutes, contains, embodies, identifies, deals with, or is in any manner whatsoever pertinent to that subject, including but not limited to records concerning the preparation of other records

Related Documents
Business Meeting
Business Meeting Regarding Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedra
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Thursday, July 10, 2003
09:30 AM

Business Meeting
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Business Meeting
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Thursday, June 12, 2003
09:30 AM

News Release
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Letter to Mr. Rober Lopez
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May 8, 2003

Committee Leaders Question National Hockey League Regarding the Use of Ephedra-Containing Supplements
Letter to Mr. Gary Bettman
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April 9, 2003

Committee Leaders Question NBA Regarding the Use of Ephedra-Containing Supplements
Letter to Mr. David J. Stern
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April 9, 2003

Committee Leaders Question NBA Regarding the Use of Ephedra-Containing Supplements
Letter to Mr. David J. Stern
National Basketball Association
April 9, 2003

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