House Republicans Question Supplement Companies about Ingredient Declared Illegal and Potentially Unsafe by FDA

Three members of the House of Representatives recently questioned multiple supplement companies about the continued sale of products containing DMAA (dimethylamylamine), a synthetic drug linked to several deaths. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has previously urged consumers to avoid products containing DMAA.  DMAA is an ingredient in some weight loss or muscle development supplements.  It is alleged that the drug could trigger heart problems.  The FDA has reportedly received over 80 reports linking supplements containing DMAA to injury, illness and death.  However, the FDA has not recalled products containing DMAA.

Representatives from a number of companies, from manufacturers to retailers, have stated that they do not have valid reasons to believe that DMAA is unsafe.  Other supplement companies have ceased production and sales of products containing DMAA.  A company that continues to market supplements with DMAA has stated that it will phase out such products and at least one major retailer has said it will sell its remaining inventory, unless there is an FDA recall.

Class actions have been filed over products containing DMAA, with a California judge dismissing one such action in the fourth quarter of last year.  It remains to be seen whether the recent efforts of lawmakers will trigger further action by the FDA.  Regardless, any supplement company involved in the stream of commerce of products containing DMAA should have plans in place for how to deal with further FDA action, class action, mass tort, or single plaintiff lawsuits.  Proactive regulatory and litigation management saves legal costs and liability exposure where regulatory action and/or litigation are anticipated.

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