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Criminal investigation of Metabolife
WASHINGTON - August 15, 2002 - The Food and Drug Administration disclosed that it has recommended a criminal investigation of whether a leading ephedra seller lied about the dietary supplement's safety.
The FDA also criticized Metabolife International for belatedly offering to turn over 13,000 health complaints from its consumers years after federal health officials sought the records.
Mass Produced Herbal Remedies can Cause Seizures
Implicate Metabolife and St. Johns Wort
Over-the-counter herbal remedies can cause seizures in some patients, warn epilepsy
specialists. This article discusses three patients that developed seizures after
taking St. John's Wort and two using Metabolife 356.
Stimulant Propels Diet Empire
Herbal Coalition Fights FDA's Proposed Safety Regulation - Leader is Michael Ellis
Michael J. Ellis, a 46-year-old San Diego businessman, is, according to
this story, the brains behind a weight-loss product advertised as the No.
1 herbal dietary supplement in America. Retail sales for his privately
held company, Metabolife International, soared from less than $2 million
in 1996 to $600 million last year.
Ellis has become wealthy selling a product that shares a key ingredient
with a drug that got him arrested 10 years ago. He was busted for running
a methamphetamine lab in a house not far from his new $2 million home
in exclusive Rancho Santa Fe. He is president of an industry coalition that
has managed so far to block federal regulators seeking to limit ephedrine
products because of safety concerns.
Reports of hundreds of adverse reactions and at least 38 deaths some
overdoses associated with ephedrine-based products have alarmed FDA and
regulators in many states.
Both Ellis and one of his partners have drug convictions and donate to
political campaigns. We wonder why there are almost no controls on the
ephedrine industry in the U.S. with people like this at the helm of companies?
Metabolife Diet Pill Founder Investigated
May 1999 report on Boston T.V. station WCVB. Tonight, our five-month
investigation reveals an even more startlingconnection. Michael Ellis -
the man who now sells Metabolife - once soldmethamphetamine. The details
of his criminal record are contained in acriminal file from Federal Court.
Metabolife Contains Ephedrine: Is It Safe?
- Cleveland's NewsChannel-5
The FDA Is Worried About Ephedrine's Effect On Your Health. Metabolife promises
to help people lose weight and provide them with energy. But does it work?
NewsChannel-5 reports the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing
hundreds of complaints about dietarysupplements and an ingredient in
those supplements called ephedrine.
Metabolife Founder Goes on the Record About Past
- By Dan Gallagher
San Diego Daily Transcript. September 2, 1999
Court records of Michael Ellis criminal records were unsealed as part of Metabolife's
ongoing legal battle with WCVB-TV, an ABC affiliate in Boston whom the company has
charged with defamation and slander for a scathing series of stories broadcast in
early May. Controversy about the product remains. Metabolife was hit with a class-action
lawsuit filed in San Diego last month, claiming the product was poorly labeled, as it
failed to indicate the FDA was investigating a link between ephedrine-related products
and 75 deaths since 1993. In another case, a San Diego woman has filed a lawsuit against
the company claiming the product caused her seizures and brain damage after taking it.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Metabolife
- By Russell Adams
San Diego Daily Transcript. August 4, 1999
San Diego's diet-supplement maker Metabolife International Inc. once again is being
accused of distributing a product that has produced more problems than benefits for
thousands of American consumers. The case, which is being heard by Superior Court Judge
Charles R. Hayes, specifically alleges that in addition to not properly testing the
product, Metabolife did not warn and inform users about the dangers associated with
The Enigma of Ephedra Radio DJs
Those that praise a weight-loss herb the FDA says could hurt you.
- By Annie Lehmann. March 3, 1998
Detroit radio has been abuzz with hype for Metabolife 356, "the all-natural weight loss
supplement that will energize your life." The sales pitch for this herbal formula, which
claims to work "by raising your metabolic rate and curbing your appetite," can be heard throughout
the day on WKQI-FM (95.5), WPLT-FM (96.3) and WYCD-FM (99.5).
Despite the controversy, people like Valerie Miller, an administrative assistant in programming
and marketing at WKQI, continue to turn to diet supplements for weight loss.
She has lost 53 pounds in eight months using Metabolife and gone from a size 18 to a size 10.
Because it is a product the station advertises, sample boxes were free to employees interested in
trying the supplement.
Metabolife Calls for FDA
Metabolife proposes work with Industry on Ephedra Guidelines
- San Diego, (August 11, 1997)
Metabolife International, Inc. today called for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to
appoint a working group of scientists, consumers, herbalists and industry to develop new federal
guidelines for dietary supplements containing ephedra and other herbs. Metabolife 356(TM) is
the nation's best selling herbal weight loss supplement. Americans will consume approximately two billion
Metabolife 356(TM) caplets this year, an average of 225,000 caplets per hour.