Drug Defects: February 2009 Archives

February 10, 2009

Contaminated Weight Loss Pills Could Cause Florida Injuries

Florida consumers of so-called "natural" weight loss supplements could be in for a shock to learn that their weight loss pills contain unauthorized pharmaceutical drugs.  According to the Food and Drug Administration and a recent New York Times story, many popular weight loss supplements contain the drugs Sibutramine, Rimonabant, Phenolphthalein, and Bumetanide.  Although most national retailers have pulled the defective drugs from their shelves, many online retailers continue to sell products listed as having potential defects by the the FDA.  Because of the potentially wide reach of weight loss product sales, consumers throughout Florida including Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach County should be cautious of the supplements they choose as the defective drugs can cause injury and adverse side-effects. 

The potential dangers to South Florida residents who take these defective supplements include an increase/decrease in blood pressure, seizure, depression, palpatations, and a list of other side effects.  You should consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement for weight loss and avoid products that promise extraordinary results without legitimate substantiation.

Injuries or deaths caused by defective drugs raise numerous legal questions.  Most relevant in recent history has been the issue of federal pre-emption.  That is, whether FDA authority and regulation trumps State causes of action against unsafe drugs or medical devices.  In the case of dietary supplements, which these contaminated pills were marketed as, the manufacturer is responsible for making sure the product is safe.  Under the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994, there is no registration or approval required before producing or selling dietary supplements.  However, because these products allegedly contain pharmaceutical drugs, they do not fit within the definition of a dietary supplements and arguably should have been submitted to the FDA for approval.

There are already high-profile lawsuits being filed in connection with these defective pills.  Most notable is a lawsuit filed by NFL player Grady Jackson against Nikki Haskell and the company that distributed the popular weight loss pill, StarCaps.  Jackson tested positive for the NFL-banned drug, bumetanide, after allegedly taking the weight loss supplement.

***DISCLAIMER: The content provided is not intended to be construed as legal advice.  If you have any questions or concerns, based on your factual circumstances, please contact Law Offices Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A. at 1-877-853-7466. 

 

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