On May 1, 2009, An Attorney for You, a division of Calliope Media, commenced a Hydroxycut campaign to identify people injured by Iovate Health Sciences Inc.’s dietary supplements. Within four weeks, over 2,300 Hydroxycut case leads have been generated by the firm. To date, Iovate Health Sciences Inc. has had class action lawsuits filed against them for breaches of the Consumer Protection Act and the Food and Drug Act, negligence and claims alleging that consumers were not made aware of the potential health risks associated with using Hydroxycut weight loss products. As Vance R. Andrus, Attorney at Law, of Andrus-Boudreaux in Lafayette, Louisiana explains, “Hydroxycut has the characteristics to be the next massive products litigation for plaintiff attorneys.”
The early outcome report identifies some of the key issues surrounding Hydroxycut litigation. The report also emphasizes the continued opportunity for plaintiff attorneys to help protect the public from further harm. As Tom Arthur, CEO of Calliope Media adds,” We appreciate the work that the attorneys are doing as we work hand-in-hand to address Hydroxycut issues. The initial projections strongly suggest that an investment in Hydroxycut cases will produce a significant outcome for involved plaintiff attorneys and families that are seriously affected by Hydroxycut. ”
Hydroxycut Recall Snapshot
Defendant: Iovate Health Sciences Inc.
Defense Lawyer: Thomas B.K. Ringe III; Duane Morris, LLP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Latency: Not established, short latency expected.
Permanency: Permanency established in some cases based on initial case lead review
Progression: Depending upon the type, there may be significant progression
Duration of Use: Not established, short duration expected
Dietary Supplement Trend Stats
• Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, with 60 million classified as obese, and 9 million as severely obese, according to The American Obesity Association.
• In 2004, 18.9% Americans reported that they had taken one or more dietary supplements in the past year, according to the Institute of Medicine. By 2007, an annual survey conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C, indicated that 68% of Americans use dietary supplements, a 2% growth from the previous year.
• Retail and non-retail sales of dietary supplement products across all distribution channels in the U.S. were $17 billion in 2000, according to The Nutrition Business Journal, 2001.
Seriousness of Injury and Proof of Use
Vance R. Andrus, Attorney at Law, of Andrus-Boudreaux in Lafayette, Louisiana adds, “Critical aspects in the validity of Hydroxycut claims are seriousness of injury and proof of use.” Since competition may ultimately be fierce for Hydroxycut cases, lawyers will need to contact possible clients early and often to identify the seriousness of the injury and demonstrate both their compassion and litigation skills in order to prevent case loss. James Shaw Attorney at Law, Carabin & Shaw P.C., San Antonio, TX has witnessed firsthand the results of early case screening, As James Shaw, Attorney at Law, Carabin & Shaw P.C., San Antonio, TX, states, “Currently, our firm has identified at least thirty individuals with liver damage caused by the individuals’ use of the Hydroxycut products.”
Seriousness of Injury
Case lead reports that have been accumulated by An Attorney for You to date suggest both vague complaints and significant injuries to consumers using Hydroxycut products. Vague complaints include headaches, nausea, vomiting, slight muscle pain, jaundice, dark urine, excessive fatigue, abdominal pain, and diabetes. The most serious case leads are associated with death, liver scarring, liver damage, liver failure, stroke, kidney damage, heart attack, diabetic ketoacidosis and Rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle fiber breakdown due to toxic cellular substances that affect systemic circulation. Rhabdomyolysis may lead to renal failure.
It is important not to disregard prospective clients who have experienced minor symptoms at this early juncture. For example, a 1982 study led by Gabow of 87 adults with Rhabdomyolysis noted that only 50% of patients initially complained of muscle pain. The sequence of Rhabdomyolysis includes: Hypovolemia, Hyperkalemia, Metabolic Acidosis, Renal Failure, Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. -1- Rhabdomyolysis may lead to impairment and eventual organ failure as well. In fact, the sheer number of case leads suggests that many consumers are concerned about Hydroxycut. In the end, initial complaints may signify a more significant medical condition, making Hydroxycut a potential windfall for litigation with large case volume. Factors that may present red flags in the quality of a select number of cases include, but may not be limited to: alcohol abuse and muscle builder abuse.
Proof of Use
There are three types of proof of use that may apply in Hydroxycut cases. Proof of use is identified through receipts of purchase and/or possession of the supplement drug bottle. An additional means to identify proof of use is to find out if the purchaser is a member of a loyalty club. Large distributors such as those of Hydroxycut products often use loyalty club cards to attract consumers via discounts. The distributors track the contact information of purchasers, which may be subpoenaed in court. Sworn evidence in the form of affidavits from clients and/or loved ones must be substantiated in quality Hydroxycut cases.
Potential Lawsuit Targets
There are many potential targets for plaintiff attorneys interested in Hydroxycut cases. Large retail chains may be a target. It may also be interesting to note that in 2003 Chemical Sources International identified one US producer or distributor of Garcinia Cambogia, a questionable ingredient in recalled Hydroxycut products. In 2002, a chemical buyer’s directory listed several manufacturers or distributors of Garcinia Cambogia extract, including Alchem International Ltd.; Ampak Co., Inc.; Barrington Chemical Corp.; Buckton Scott Nutrition, Inc.; CPB International, Inc.; Fabrichem, Inc.; Har-Met International Inc.; Indo German Alkaloids; International Sourcing, Inc.; MDS Chemical Co.; M.M.P., Inc.; Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc.; Pharmed Medicare (P) Ltd.; Pharmline, Inc.; Paul Schueller International Inc.; Spectrum Chemical Mfg. Corp.; and Unibar Corp. -2- So, research may be significant in these cases. As Leonard V. Fodera, Attorney at Law of Silverman and Fodera in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania adds, The defense of Hydroxycut should be no different than the defense used in ephedra containing Hydroxycut. It will be a long and arduous fight with extensive discovery, Daulbert motions and Hearings. In the end, baring bankruptcy by the defendant, Injured Parties will have proper
Mechanism of Action
The mechanism of action has not been identified to date. This is due, in part, to the fact that the batches of Hydroxycut products vary greatly. In fact, there are many products in the Hydroxycut line. The ingredients, potency, and dosage in tablets have not been fully identified by the FDA. There are six trademarks, including: Hydroxyagen Plus, HydroxyTea, HydroxyCarb, Hardcore, Aqua Shed, and Hydroxycut Max. With 16 products and 56 variations involved, it will take time to sort out the mechanism of action. There are two Hydroxycut products that have not been included in the recall to date: Hydroxycut Cleanse and Hydroxycut Hoodia. The common ingredients that initially signify cause for alarm are green tea extract and Garcinia Cambogia. As Stuart Goldenberg, Attorney at Law, Goldenberg & Johnson PLLC, Minneapolis, MN adds, “The crux of the case is that Hydroxycut makers touted health benefits that are not backed by scientific evidence. Cases are most likely to be successful if the injured party is taking Hydroxycut when the injury occurs.”
Undoubtedly, the mechanism of action in Hydroxycut will not be defined for quite some time. In the meantime, there are tens of thousands of people who feel they have been injured by Hydroxycut. In the final “early stage” analysis, Hydroxycut litigation will play out for a long time. Client acquisition is in full swing. Firms are having success in using various methods, including outsourced lead generation, online marketing and television placement. If you are not already advertising for cases, check with a firm like Calliope Media that can get you started with an effective campaign in no time. As Tom Arthur, CEO of Calliope Media, adds, “We salute plaintiff attorneys for the diligent time, investigation and investment they make in Hydroxycut case leads. Our investment in this campaign is a small example of our commitment to assist plaintiff attorneys with their goals.”
Outcome Reports and Updates are produced by Lesley Ranft, an independent medical and legal writer, to present unbiased information about litigation through factual third party resources. Some statements may be forward thinking. The author can make no guarantee as to its completeness.