Vitamin Shoppe Pulls BMPEA Supplements Off ShelvesApril 10, 2015 — Acting faster than the FDA, Vitamin Shoppe has pulled supplements containing BMPEA off shelves because the amphetamine-like drug is not derived from the Acacia rigidula plant.

Earlier this week, Dr. Pieter Cohen and colleagues at Harvard Medical School reported that 11 supplements labeled as containing Acacia rigidula actually contained BMPEA.

BMPEA is a stimulant that was originally synthesized in the 1930s as a replacement for amphetamines. It has never been studied in humans and its safety and effectiveness are unknown.

The researchers told ABC News it is “alarming” how slow the FDA has been to pull these supplements off the market:

“There’s an unbelievably potent stimulant, a close relative, a brother of amphetamines — that’s found in multiple different brands of supplements. But much more alarming than this is that even though the FDA has known about this for the last two years, they have done absolutely nothing to remove these supplements from the market.”

The FDA said in its review of supplements containing BMPEA that it “does not identify a specific safety concern at this time.”

The agency began investigating products containing Acacia rigidula as early as 2013. Scientists at the FDA tested 21 popular supplements, and 9 tested positive for varying amounts of BMPEA. The FDA published results in a study, but did not name specific products, issue any recalls, or restrict activities of manufacturers.

The New York Times cited public health experts who blame the FDA’s reluctance to act in part because top agency regulators come from the industry and have conflicts of interest:

“In recent years, two of the agency’s top officials overseeing supplements — including one currently on the job — were former leaders of the largest supplement industry trade and lobbying group.”

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