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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Class Claims Diet Supplement Could Kill You

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A class action claims Florida-based BPI Sports' bodybuilding and dietary supplements "contain a dangerous amphetamine-like ingredient that poses a serious health risk and has potentially life-threatening side effects."

Named plaintiffs Clint Eskenski and Camden Brady describe lead defendant BPI Sports as "an incredibly successful company which manufactures, distributes, markets, and sells a variety of purported dietary supplements to consumers. BPI's best selling products include '1.M.R' powder and tablets, 'RoxyLean ECA' and 'Rx6' (collectively, the 'products.') These products are purported dietary supplements which are marketed for use as bodybuilding and weight loss supplements. 1.M.R is marketed as a pre-workout bodybuilding supplement. RoxyLean and Rx6 are marketed as 'fat burning' weight loss supplements.

"However, the products contain a dangerous amphetamine-like ingredient that poses a serious health risk and has potentially life-threatening side effects. The ingredient, which is supposedly derived from the oil of the geranium plant, is known by many names, including '1,3 Dimethylamylamine,' 'Methylhexanamine,' and 'Geranainine' (hereinafter referred to as 'DMAA').

"At the time plaintiffs Clint Eskenazi and Camden Brady ... purchased and used the products, they were unaware the products contained a dangerous stimulant, DMAA, the use of which is banned by several athletic organizations, and sale of which is completely prohibited in certain countries.

"DMAA was patented by Eli Lilly & Company in 1944 and later marketed, beginning in 1971, under the trademark 'Forthane' for use as a nasal decongestant and as a treatment for hypertrophied or hyperplasic oral tissues. DMAA is a vasoconstrictor and central nervous system stimulant which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency ('WADA') and Major League Baseball ('MLB') lists of banned substances. The sale of DMAA is totally prohibited in Canada and New Zealand. Recently, DMAA has gained popularity with young people as a designer drug used in 'party pills.'

"BPI failed to inform consumers that DMAA is a dangerous central nervous system stimulant which is banned by WADA, MLB, Canada and New Zealand, and that using the products can cause consumers to test positive for an illegal substance and/or amphetamine use.

"In addition, though DMAA is claimed to be an extract of geranium oil, most of the DMAA contained in products currently on the market it wholly 'synthetic' DMAA, completely manufactured in laboratories, and is not derived from the geranium plant in any way whatsoever. In fact, plaintiffs are informed and believe and on that basis allege that the DMAA in BPI's products is purely synthetic. Significantly, recent studies have also concluded that there is no DMAA whatsoever in geranium oil, that DMAA is not extracted from geranium oil, and that all DMAA on the market is synthetic. Because DMAA is a wholly synthetic substance, it is not a 'dietary ingredient,' and BPI's products are not 'dietary supplements' as those concepts are defined by applicable regulations promulgated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration."

The plaintiffs say that DMAA has "extremely dangerous side effects." Citing a Washington Post news report, the class claims that Don Caitlin, a "pre-eminent anti-doping scientist," told the Post that DMAA is chemically similar to amphetamine and ephedrine, and can fatally raise the heart rate and blood pressure.

"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. ... To make things worse, DMAA is widely used as a 'designer drug' in dangerous 'party pills,'" the complaint states.

The class claims: "BPI goes a step further in its marketing scheme by making false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims regarding the safety and effectiveness of the products - claims that BPI knows are completely without merit or scientific substantiation - in order to lure unsuspecting consumers into buying the products," the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiffs seek restitution and class damages for consumer law violations, unfair competition, false and misleading advertising, breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty.

They are represented in Superior Court by Gregory Scarlett.

Here are the defendants: BPI Sports LLC, BPI Sports Holdings Inc., Brian Pharma II LLC, and BPI principals Derek Ettinger and James Grage.

Neither the law firm nor BPI Sports responded to emailed requests for comment.

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