East Hawaii News

Big Island Residents File Lawsuits Over OxyELITE Pro

November 22, 2013, 2:02 PM HST
* Updated November 22, 2:04 PM
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A Honolulu newspaper is reporting that two Big Island residents have filed lawsuits over the diet supplement OxyELITE Pro that was the subject of a recall earlier this month.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported today that according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Honolulu, Kailua-Kona resident Kenneth Waikiki was forced to get a liver transplant after taking the supplement.

Waikiki, 22, is suing USPlabs, the Dallas-based manufacturer, two of the company’s executives, and GNC Corp., the company which allegedly sold him the supplement.

On Tuesday, lawyers for Everine Van Houten of Keaau filed suit in federal court claiming consuming OxyELITE Pro resulted in her contracting acute nonviral hepatitis, the Star-Advertiser said.

The lawsuit on behalf of Van Houten, 33, was filed against the supplement’s manufacturer and seller, GNC Holdings.

The US Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that the supplement was recalled after being linked to acute liver failure and cases of hepatitis. The agency said that the supplement was responsible for one death and several liver transplants.

The FDA is advising the public to stop consuming OxyELITE Pro and another supplement, VERSA-1, which is manufactured by the same company and has also been linked to health problems.

The agency requested anyone experiencing health problems after taking OxyELITE Pro or VERSA-1, to report them online or by calling 1-800-332-1088 and requesting a complaint form.

The state Health Department announced Monday that it would collect and destroy supplies of OxyELITE Pro for destruction at Oahu’s H-Power plant.

However, that move was put on hold at the request of a Hawaii attorney who said the supplements should be retained as evidence.

A spokeswoman said Monday that the Health Department has identified 36 cases of liver damage and acute hepatitis in Hawaii with consumption of the supplement being the only common factor.

The department’s investigation into the supplement began in late September. On Oct. 8, the DOH requested that retailers and distributors pull OxyELITE Pro from their shelves, which was followed the next day by a mandatory embargo of the product.

DOH inspectors visited more than 160 retailers statewide and recovered nearly 330,000 capsules and 8,342 ounces of powder, which together had an estimated retail value of more than $250,000.

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