A nasty supplement disappears, but another will surely follow. Drug whack-a mole?

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Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 1.26.32 PMIt didn t take long. Only days after the news broke that an amphetamine-like stimulant called BMPEA was found in a number of dietary supplements, The Vitamin Shoppe, one of the major supplement retailers, announced that it would stop selling all products that contained the chemical.

As reported in today s NYTimes, the company said, that it planned to stop selling all supplements that list on their labels a plant known as acacia rigidula.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom finds this to be almost hilarious on a number of levels. He says, Sure, now they re going to stop selling something that shouldn t have been sold in the first place. But, even better is the mention of acacia rigidula. Not only is it absurd that listing some stupid plant on a label somehow permits something to be called a supplement, but the BMPEA was added to the bottle. It doesn t even come from that plant. Or any other. It was synthesized in a lab in Philadelphia in the 1930s

Aside from that, everything is pretty much correct, unless you want to add that it is considered to be a doping agent, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Dr. Bloom says that this is virtually certain to happen again: There is an infinite number of possible amphetamines, limited only by the imagination of the synthetic chemist, and the availability of the chemical reagents. It is trivial to envision, and then synthesize a bunch of amphetamines that don t even exist yet. Many will have some kind of stimulant properties, and some will end up in another bottle sooner or later. There will be animal safety studies done, of course, but the animals will be human.