February 22, 2012
Abbey Spanier Rodd & Abrams LLP filed a class action lawsuit against General Nutrition Centers Inc. (GNC) and other retailers for selling Cellucor's C-4 Extreme, which the companies marketed as a dietary supplement, but the law firm said it actually contains the "wholly synthetic" ingredient 1,3 Dimethylamylamine (DMAA). The plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to disclose that the DMAA contained in C-4 Extreme is wholly synthetic, manufactured and not derived from the geranium plant.
DMAA has been in the spotlight this year, with the military banning its sales in its commissaries and a California class action lawsuit that claims bodybuilding and weight management supplements from Florida-based BPI Sports contained undisclosed DMAA.
However, DMAA has its proponents too with USPlabs, which makes one of the most popular DMAA products (Jack3D) on the market, saying studies have shown it is derived naturally. "We have conducted some exciting studies at a highly respected U.S. laboratory," reported Jack Deschauer, spokesperson for USPlabs.
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) didn't ban its members from selling DMAA, but it did prohibit members from labeling the human-synthesized version as a derivative of geranium oil or any part of the geranium plant. AHPA's board approved the trade requirement in August 2011, and it went into effect on Jan. 13, 2012.
Abbey Spanier Rodd & Abrams said GNC, along with Cellucor Sports Nutrition, Woodbolt Distribution Ltd, Woodbolt Management LLC and Woodbolt International, by selling C-4 Extreme, violated the California Consumer Leal Remedies Act, the California False Advertising Law and the California Unfair Competition Act. This action, filed in the United States District Court, Central District of California (Civil Action No. 12-1336), was brought as a class action on behalf of all persons in the United States who purchased C-4 Extreme at any time during the four years prior to the filing of the lawsuit.
The law firm said when consumers purchased and used C-4 Extreme, they were unaware that C-4 Extreme contained the "synthetic and dangerous stimulant" DMAA (also known as 1,3 Dimethylhexaneamine HCl, 1,3 Dimethylhexaneamine, Methylhexaneamine and Geranamine) and that DMAA was not derived from the geranium plant or any other natural source.
Because the plaintiff alleges the DMAA contained in C-4 Extreme is a synthetic product, it says it is illegal.
"The safety concerns associated with DMAA have been well-documented, including concerns that DMAA is a dangerous and addictive substance that can cause headache, nausea and stroke," Abbey Spanier Rodd & Abrams said in a statement. "Experts have noted DMAA has a chemical structure similar to amphetamines and ephedrine, and can cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure and even death."
Natural Products Insider contacted GNC for this article, but it said it does not comment on pending litigation.
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