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Peralta wants herbal Viagra banned after Lama Odom’s brush with death

By Bill Parry

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) announced Monday he is drafting a bill that would ban the sale of dietary supplements that are marketed for curing erectile dysfunction and enhancing sexual performance. Peralta outlined his legislation a week after former Christ the King basketball star Lamar Odom lay in a coma after ingesting “herbal Viagra” with other drugs and alcohol in a Nevada brothel.

The Federal Drug Administration has repeatedly warned the public not to use so-called “herbal Viagra” products, yet they can be purchased in bodegas or gas stations around the city and the state. Some common brand names are Reload, Herb Viagra, King of Romance and FX3000, among others.

In an advisory updated last week, the FDA noted that these products come in a wide range of forms, including pills, coffees, chewing gum and dissolvable oral strips. Many of these dangerous products enter the United States from countries where they are manufactured with little or no oversight as to their actual contents.

The FDA tested some of these dietary supplements and found the active ingredient of Cialis, a pill approved for erectile dysfunction by the FDA, while others contained dapoxetine, an antidepressant that is not approved by the FDA. In other scenarios, some of these over-the-counter tablets can contain up to six active ingredients, a very unsafe combination.

“I am not here to ruin a party or spoil anyone’s fun,” Peralta said. “But in a vast majority of cases, the true contents of these products are unknown to consumers, making their use very unsafe. The inherent danger is real. I encourage New Yorkers to stay away from these products, to wholly avoid them. Consult a doctor before taking any new supplements or medications.”

Under his proposal, businesses that continue to sell these dietary supplements would be fined $2,000 for the first offense, $5,000 for the second offense, and upon a third offense, they would lose their licenses to sell alcohol, cigarettes and lottery tickets.

Meanwhile, Odom was airlifted to Los Angeles Monday where he will continue his recovery in a hospital closer to his home.

“It is a tragedy that Lamar Odom has suffered dire consequences while using enhancement supplements,” state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), a co-sponsor of the bill, said. “We’re going to take action to ensure mislabeled supplements containing prescription drugs remain off the shelves in New York state.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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