Medicine: Deflating a Balloon

Ever since U.S. doctors returned from mainland China with favorable reports about the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment and anesthetic, occidental interest in the ancient oriental art has ballooned. So has the demand for high-quality acupuncture needles. Last week, however, the Food and Drug Administration temporarily deflated matters. The agency turned back or impounded five consignments of some 200 needles from China on the technicality that they were not properly labeled "medical devices." The FDA'S action may not contribute to the growing rapprochement between the U.S. and China, but it may help protect the American medical consumer. A number of...