Man Blames Supplement for Fractured Penis

August 31, 2012

4 Min Read
Man Blames Supplement for Fractured Penis

HOUSTONA 29-year-old Texas man is suing a supplement company, claiming its  sexual enhancement product caused his penis to fracture during intercourse . Adrian Carter alleged that Haute Health Ltd, NJ, marketed VirilisPro as being safe, but knew that it could pose serious health risks.

In the early morning of May 11, 2011, Carter and his "paramour" (as the court documents put it) stopped at a Chevron gas station in Houston. Court records report that while paying, a store clerk told Carter he should consider buying VirilisPro, marketed by Haute Health as being "formulated to increase sexual performance, well-being, endurance, stamina and penile hardness all while intensifying overall sexual pleasure and satisfaction."

It is also advertised "as made with only natural ingredients to prevent harmful side effects" On its website, VirilisPro said it contains a proprietary blend of epimedium, tribulus terrestris, panax ginseng,  rhodiola rosea, lycium Chinese and yohimbe extract.

Carter purchased the product and continued to a hotel room with his lover. During sexual intercourse, Carter "experienced significant pain and observed a large quantity of blood squirting out of his penis onto the sheets, walls and mirror in the hotel room," according to court documents.

Carter went to a local emergency room and was diagnosed with gross hematuria (blood in the urine), penile fracture and urethral injury. After the emergency room physicians degloved (removed all the skin) from Carter's penis, the doctor observed that Carter's urethra had completely separated.

Carter was released from the hospital a few days later, but a catheter wasn't removed for nearly three weeks; doctors told him he may never have an erection or be able to father children, and that he may have a permanent inability to urinate naturally.

In the suit, filed in the district court of Harris County, TX, Carter alleged VirilisPro was "defective and unreasonably dangerous for consumers." Carter said he used the product as it was intended for use. Therefore, Carter said Haute Health and its owners are liable for damages.

Further, Carter alleged Haute and its owners were negligent because they did not warn consumers of the dangers of VirilisPro, failed to test or inspect the product, and failed to remove VirilisPro from the market. Carter said Haute Health's owners knew that VirilisPro was extremely dangerous, but advertised the product as safe.

Carter said the product does not increase sexual performance as advertised; on the contrary, he alleged VirilisPro can result in penile fractures and the loss of sexual functioning

Justin Prochnow, attorney at Greenberg Traurig, who specializes in food and supplement law, said that the biggest task the Carter faces is proving that the use of the supplement was the proximate cause of his injuries. "I would assume that the plaintiff has an expert lined up that will attempt to tie the use of the product to the scenario that was alleged in the complaint and the defendants will almost certainly argue that there is no evidence that use of the product is responsible for the injuries."

While this type of case is rare, Prochnow noted, "Products liability cases involving serious injuries or death have certainly seen a swell of activity, as have other forms of litigation against supplement, food and beverage companies," Prochnow said. "Earlier in August, a case was brought in Tennessee against the makers of 5-Hour Energy for wrongful death after a man collapsed while playing basketball.  As plaintiff lawyers continue to troll for cases against food, beverage and supplement companies, we are likely to see an increase in all types of cases, including products liability cases."

FDA is often concerned with the potential health effects of sexual health supplements, especially those that are adulterated. It is not often that such supplements are accused of such acute risks.

Unfortunately, there is no way for a company to completely insulate itself from litigation.  "Of course, companies can put themselves in good positions by vetting claims to verify that they are legally permissible claims and ensuring that claims and the safety of products are supported by scientific evidence," Prochnow said. "Just because a case is filed does not mean that a company is liable for the claims alleged in a complaint and companies that vigorously defend claims that have no merit can get those claims dismissed.  Most of the time, however  it causes a company to divert time, money and energy to defending against the claims and plaintiff lawyers count on companies not wanting to make such expenditures and just settling."

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