Update – November 22, 2013. Plaintiffs deliver revised certification materials and a further representative plaintiff is added in Hydroxycut class action

The plaintiffs' revised certification materials were delivered today, representing a further step towards the certification hearing which is scheduled to take place in November 2014. The materials had to be revised to take account of bankruptcy proceedings against one of the defendants, Iovate Health Sciences Inc. According to those proceedings, no claims could be made against Iovate for any damages arising before January 18, 2006.

The materials have also added a further representative plaintiff, David de Medeiros, who was hospitalized for several months due to liver failure after taking Hydroxycut.

Background

Hydroxycut is a herbal supplement containing green tea extract, which is marketed as a weight-loss drug by the defendants, Iovate Health Sciences Inc. and Muscletech Research and Development Inc. Millions of units of the drug were sold in Canada until May 2009, when the product was recalled from the market.

According to advisories from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), consumers of Hydroxycut have experienced serious health problems ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes to severe liver injury requiring a transplant. One death due to liver failure was reported to the FDA. These injuries occurred in patients taking the recommended doses of Hydroxycut.

Health Canada also received 17 reports of adverse reactions relating to the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological systems. Other health problems linked to Hydroxycut include seizures and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure.

A total of 14 Hydroxycut products were recalled, including:

  • Hydroxycut Regular Rapid Release Caplets
  • Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Rapid Release Caplets
  • Hydroxycut Hardcore Liquid Capsules
  • Hydroxycut Max Liquid Capsules
  • Hydroxycut Regular Drink Packets
  • Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Drink Packets
  • Hydroxycut Hardcore Drink Packets (Ignition Stix)
  • Hydroxycut Max Drink Packets
  • Hydroxycut Liquid Shots
  • Hydroxycut Hardcore RTDs (Ready-to-Drink)
  • Hydroxycut Max Aqua Shed
  • Hydroxycut 24
  • Hydroxycut Carb Control
  • Hydroxycut Natural

Rochon Genova commenced a class action against the defendants on May 4, 2009. The class includes all individuals and entities resident in Canada who purchased for their own use (and not for resale) any of the defendants' Hydroxycut products during the class period (January 18, 2006 to the May 2009 recall).

The representative plaintiffs allege that the labels on the Hydroxycut products lacked proper warnings. They allege that the defendants made false, misleading and/or deceptive misrepresentations, and failed to warn Canadian consumers of the potential adverse effects of Hydroxycut on a person's cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and gastrointestinal systems, as well as on the liver and kidneys.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the use of Hydroxycut and you would like to find out more information, click here to contact us.