The status of whether ephedra and related products like diet pills is legal or not legal has a lot of consumer interested in buying it really confused.
There is a reason lots of people are confused about the legal nature of ephedra diet pills and that confusion has left consumers open to scams. Those selling diet pills are pushing a lot of similar ephedra products or claiming to have the same weight loss power as ephedra.
The confusion over the situation starts back in the year 2004 when the FDA declared herbal ephedra used in any type of product for any purpose would be considered adulterated and harmful to the public therefor making it illegal to sell.
Early in 2005 a company by the name of Nutraceutical Corporation challenged the legality of the ban and a Utah judge ruled in favor of Nutraceutical Corporation. The legal challenge related to the fact that the FDA had not shown that products with 10 mg or less of ephedra alkaloids were dangerous. (Most ephedra products before the ephedra ban used 20-25 mg of ephedra alkaloids.)
The FDA was still declaring that all ephedra products were illegal and that the ban was still in place despite the fact that manufacturers continued to make ephedra diet pills. Although they were now producing lower quantity ephedra products that only contained 10 mg of the ephedra alkaloid.
In fact, the FDA used U.S. marshals to raid several companies and seized large quantities of weight loss products that contained ephedra.
A court of appeals then upheld the FDA ephedra ban in mid 2006 reinstating the fact that ephedra was illegal again. As of today the manufacture and selling of ephedra products for any reason or in any amount is illegal in the US.
Nutraceutical Corporation, October 2006, has issued another challenge and filed another petition for rehearing in front of the entire 10th circuit of the US Court of Appeals saying the FDA’s assessment of unreasonable risk is too rigid and gives the agency license to declare any dietary ingredient adulterated.
Right now, all ephedra products are illegal in the United States.
While the law is still being challenged it is not likely to change since Congress is looking to rewrite the laws associated with herbs and supplements making it easier for government agencies like the FDA to make any herb illegal they think is harmful to the public. They will not really need any reason or evidence that says otherwise. They can simply claim the herb is a problem and it can be banned from stores.
The effectiveness and safety of ephedra was supported by social proof in the marketplace. People bought and used ephedra for over 10 years with many of them coming back again and again to repurchase these products. Even without scientific proof that alone shows that ephedra worked and was safe.
If ephedra had been as dangerous as the FDA made it out to be it would have disappeared from store shelves. But millions of people continue to search for it even while it is illegal showing they did not think that it was a danger to use and that it worked for weight loss.