USPlabs Slapped with Second Lawsuit in OxyElite Pro Outbreak

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

December 3, 2013

2 Min Read
USPlabs Slapped with Second Lawsuit in OxyElite Pro Outbreak

HAWAIIUSPlabs LLC last month was named a defendant in another lawsuit that implicates its OxyElite Pro supplement in an outbreak of hepatitis and liver injuries. 

According to a complaint filed on Nov. 21 in federal district court, Kenneth Waikiki required a liver transplant after ingesting OxyElite Pro Super Thermo from a GNC store in Kailua-Kona. A separate lawsuit was filed just two days earlier against USPlabs on behalf of another OxyElite Pro user who claimed she was unable to work for most of the year due to her liver injury.

Wayne Parsons, Waikiki's lawyer in Honolulu, contended that his client never exceeded the recommended dosage of the supplement. The complaint asserts various claims of negligence, strict products liability and breach of implied warranty.

Hawaii and federal officials have said the supplement is linked to one death, two liver transplants and dozens of other liver injuries.

The Waikiki complaint names as defendants USPlabs and its executives Jonathan Vincent Doyle and Jacob Geissler as well as GNC Corp. USPlabs has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuits. GNC also declined to comment, citing its policy.

The 22-year-old Waikiki fell ill about a month after taking OxyElite Pro, with his eyes and skin turning yellow before he was in a coma and received a liver transplant on Oct. 1, Hawaii News Now reported.

USPlabs has maintained its products are safe, and the company believes counterfeit versions of the product are being marketed in the United States. But Parsons claimed that's simply not true.

"There is no evidence that counterfeit OxyElite Pro products exist. Nor has FDA found substantiation for such a claim," he wrote in the lawsuit.

FDA, which is investigating the outbreak along with Hawaii health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was not immediately available Tuesday to comment.

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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