Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland and is believed to be responsible for the body's internal clock, as well as other, unknown physiological processes. Synthetic melatonin has been available for several years as a so-called "nutritional supplement" in vitamin and health food stores, and many claims have been made for it, ranging from curing jet lag and Seasonal Affective Disorder to enhancing sex, preventing cancer, and easing the effects of aging.
The recent surge in popularity of melatonin coupled with the relative lack of institutional research on its effects have raised the possibility that it may be banned or restricted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and/or state health agencies. Sale of melatonin has already been restricted in Canada.
If, on 1 January 1997, over-the-counter purchase of melatonin is restricted in the United States, YES coupons will pay $1 and NO coupons will pay $0. If the present situation remains the same (melatonin may be purchased over-the-counter in retail stores by anyone without restriction) NO coupons will pay $1 and YES coupons will pay $0.
Examples of restrictions which satisfy this claim include:
Ban or restriction of importation into the United States is not required; this claim refers to retail sale only. Similarly, if retail sale is restricted or banned, but melatonin remains available by personal importation, the claim is nonetheless TRUE.
This claim refers to government action (by statute, regulation, or executive action) only; voluntary curtailment of sale by manufacturers or retailers is not sufficient, except if the judge finds that such a "voluntary" curtailment both (a) renders melatonin effectively unavailable, AND (b) in the judge's opinion, the action is not truly voluntary but is substantially the result of government coercion in lieu of regulation. In this latter case this judgment must be supported by published accounts acceptable to the judge and/or declarations of government or industry spokespersons.
This claim shall be judged TRUE if melatonin is banned or restricted (as specified above) in 26 or more U.S. states as of the claim date.
This claim must not be judged early in the event of a ban or restriction since it may be lifted by the claim date. A ban enacted or announced in 1996 that is effective on 1 January 1997 is sufficient to satisfy the claim.