In November, New York Gov. George Pataki signed a bill making New York the third state in the U.S. to ban the sale of ephedra, a popular herbal supplement used to promote weight loss and improve athletic performance.
The law went into effect immediately, and imposes fines of up to $500 per violation against anyone who knowingly breaks the law.
While the bill bans over-the-counter sales of unregulated dietary supplements containing ephedra, it contains several exemptions that allow the sale of ephedra under certain conditions. The restrictions do not apply to over-the-counter drugs that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prescription drugs that contain ephedra, or ephedra supplements sold or dispensed by practitioners of acupuncture or Chinese medicine.
In May, Illinois became the first state to ban the sale of any supplement containing ephedra. That same month, Florida and New Jersey passed laws that banned the sale of ephedra supplements to minors. In October, California Gov. Gray Davis signed a law that will ban the sale of over-the-counter products containing ephedra effective Jan. 1, 2004. Broader bans are being considered in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nebraska and Hawaii.
According to the FDA, ephedra has been linked to scores of deaths and can cause a wide range of unwelcome side-effects. Those claims have been countered by the Ephedra Education Council, an industry group, which has stated that the supplement is safe when used correctly.
CSOMA Plans Political Awareness Day at State Capital
The California State Oriental Medical Association will hold its sixth annual Oriental Medicine and Political Awareness Day Jan. 21 at the state capitol building in Sacramento. The event has been scheduled intentionally for the day following the California acupuncture licensing exam, allowing current and potentially new licensees an opportunity to participate.
The purpose of Political Awareness Day is twofold. For practitioners, the event increases one's understanding and awareness of the political process as it pertains to the future of Oriental medicine. For legislators, meanwhile, the event helps them to learn about the effectiveness of Oriental medicine as a form of care for a range of acute, chronic and preventative health issues.
Political Awareness Day kicks off with a training session for practitioners, along with a presentation on the legislative process by state lawmakers, and meetings with members of the state legislature. A luncheon will be held in the afternoon, allowing practitioners to network with legislators and staff members. Later that day, acupuncturists will deliver a presentation on acupuncture for legislative members and staff, followed by mini acupuncture treatments and health counseling. The day will conclude with a presentation on the diversity of Oriental medicine at the Round State Capitol Rotunda, with the purpose of providing information to the public and members of the legislative community.
To participate in Political Awareness Day, contact CSOMA at (916) 455-0347, or visit www.csomaonline.org. Practitioners who wish to provide treatment to legislators and staff will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In the December 2003 issue of Acupuncture Today, the John Amaro article "The Frog in the Well Knows Not of the Great Ocean!" contained several images of acupuncture points used for the treatment of constipation. One point on the lower leg was incorrectly indicated as ST 38. The correct acupuncture point is ST 36.
We apologize to Dr. Amaro and our readers for any inconvenience this may have caused.