Supplements Contained Undisclosed Steroids, Causing Severe Health Problems
12/03/2013 // NYC Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter (Press Release) // Glenn A. Herman // (press release)
They were supposed to promote health — instead, they put it at grave risk. Labeled as dietary supplements, ‘Healthy Life Chemistry By Purity First B-50’ in fact contained harmful — and undisclosed — anabolic steroids, according to a laboratory analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. While the agency issued a July 2013 warning to consumers, advising the immediate discontinuation of the product, more than two dozen adverse reactions — some requiring hospitalization — had already been recorded. Today, in a first step in bringing answers — and justice — for at-risk ‘Healthy Life’ users, the Manhattan-based Law Firm of Jonathan C. Reiter has filed a lawsuit against the supplement’s manufacturer and distributor in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.
The complaint – brought on behalf of ‘Healthy Life’ user Manya duHoffmann against Purity First Health Products, Inc. of Farmingdale, New York – alleges multiple legal breaches by Purity First, including negligence and recklessness, failure to warn, and defective design.
“The FDA’s warning about these so-called supplements was both stark and stunning,” says Glenn Herman, the veteran trial lawyer representing Ms. duHoffmann. “It confirmed the presence of anabolic steroids, noted that the steroids were never listed on the label and should never be in any dietary supplement, and gave a long list of the dangerous consequences — many of them, unfortunately, experienced by Ms. duHoffmann — of ingesting these products.”
In a statement accompanying the FDA’s warning, Howard Sklamberg, the director of Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said that “products marketed as a vitamin but which contain undisclosed steroids pose a real danger to consumers and are illegal.”
Those dangers, according to the FDA, include abnormal liver and thyroid function, kidney failure, increased risk of stroke and heart attack, unusual hair growth and missed menstruation in females, impotence and low testosterone levels in males, and short stature in children.
“The complaint isn’t conjecture,” says Herman. “The FDA’s own tests confirmed the presence of two dangerous steroids — methasterone and dimethazine — in the Purity First’s vitamin B supplement. And after the FDA warning, the company recalled not only that supplement, but two others: Healthy Life Chemistry Multi-Mineral and Healthy Life Chemistry Vitamin C. Those contained another anabolic steroid, Dimethyltestosterone, that was never mentioned on the label. Unfortunately, Ms. duHoffmann used all three of these products for a period of nearly three years — completely unaware, like every other Healthy Life user, that the very supplements she was taking to promote her health actually contained substances that were harming her — severely.”
According to the complaint, Ms. DuHuffmann suffered skin rashes, fatigue, severe muscle cramping, unusual hair growth and hair loss, deepening of her voice, and increased blood lipid levels and liver enzyme levels. Even now, after discontinuing use, she is still experiencing pain, disability, emotional distress, and economic loss.
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, but it also seeks to send a message to other supplement manufacturers, distributors, and marketers. “If you make and sell supplements you need to make them correctly, and you need to list everything that is in them,” says Herman. “And if you are reckless or negligent in doing so — as in this case — you’re going to answer for it.”
For more than 30 years, the Manhattan-based law firm of Jonathan C. Reiter has been among the country’s leading medical malpractice, negligence, and personal injury law firms. Our attorneys are dynamic, compassionate, and experienced trial lawyers with an impressive track record for winning just awards for clients who have been harmed by the negligence of others. We are committed advocates — and partners — for those who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, defective products, construction accidents, mass disasters, and other types of negligence.
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