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Maker of Controversial Supplement Craze Suspends Production

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USA TODAY
October 16, 2013 Wednesday
First EDITION
NEWS; Pg. 3A
505 words
Maker of Craze suspends production;
Labs have found meth-like compound in sports supplement
Alison Young, USA TODAY,

The maker of the popular sports supplement Craze, which scientists say contains a methamphetamine-like compound, revealed Tuesday that it has suspended all production and sales of the product.

Driven Sports, which has declined USA TODAY's repeated interview requests, posted a statement on its website disclosing that the New York-based company suspended production "several months ago while it investigated the reports in the media regarding the safety of Craze."

In July, a USA TODAY investigation revealed that a top Driven Sports official, Matt Cahill, is a convicted felon who has a history of putting risky products on the market and that tests of Craze by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and a lab in Sweden had found amphetamine-like compounds in the pre-workout powder.

On Monday, a team of scientists from the U.S. and the Netherlands published an article in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis saying they had identified an analog -- or chemical cousin -- of methamphetamine in samples of Craze. They warned that the chemical has never been studied in humans, that the health risks are unknown and that it is not disclosed on Craze's label.

Driven Sports says that its own studies continue to show Craze is safe "when used responsibly" and that tests it has commissioned "have consistently indicated that Craze does not contain amphetamines or controlled substances." It added "the confidence of our retailers to sell the product and our consumers to buy the product is our primary concern so we will continue the suspension of the production and sale of Craze for the foreseeable future until these issues are resolved."

Walmart.com, Bodybuilding.com and some other online retailers stopped selling Craze earlier this summer in the wake of the USA TODAY investigation, but tubs of the pre-workout powder continued to be available for purchase elsewhere online and in GNC stores. Recently, the product was no longer available on GNC.com and Driven Sports' own website listed Craze as out of stock.

Driven Sports says it believes that other scientists may have mistaken a natural compound for amphetamine-like substances.

Driven Sports says its labs' tests indicate the presence of "n-beta DEPEA" in Craze" and that this compound is "a related but very different substance" from the n,alpha DEPEA identified in Monday's journal article.

The company said it is "very difficult to distinguish these two substances unless you know precisely what you are looking for."

In an e-mailed statement, the journal article's authors said that "their argument holds no merit" and that Driven Sports is "just throwing out new chemical names to try to confuse."

"We stand 100% behind our results," said the research team: Pieter Cohen of Harvard Medical School; John Travis, a scientist at Michigan-based NSF International; and Bastiaan Venhuis of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands.

The Food and Drug Administration could be reached for comment due to the government shutdown.

October 16, 2013

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