The maker of Metabolife 356, and a retailer who sold the weight loss product, are being sued for more than $450,000 by a Venice woman who claims the pill caused her to suffer severe pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life. The popular weight loss product was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in 2003.

Millicent Perkins filed a nine-count lawsuit in Madison County Circuit Court against Metabolife International, the Chemins Company and Walgreen’s on Nov. 29 alleging the product--which she took from 1998 until Nov. 30, 2002--also caused her congestive heart failure, shortness of breath, anxiety and injuries to her body as a whole.

As a result, Perkins requires medical care and multiple medications to treat injuries sustained while taking the drug.

According to the complaint, Metabolife, based in San Diego, Calif., represented to the general public that its products were a safe dietary weight loss supplement containing MaHuang, also known as ephedra.

Perkins alleges that ephedra is capable of producing adverse symptoms and medical conditions such as nervousness, dizziness, alterations in blood pressure or heart rate, chest pain, myocardial infarctions, stroke, brain damage and death.

She is represented by Staci Yandle of the Rex Carr Law Firm in East St. Louis.

According to the complaint, Chemins designed, manufactured, labeled, packaged, advertised, marketed, and promoted Metabolife 356 as a weight loss supplement throughout the United States and Illinois.
Chemins is a foreign corporation with its principal place of business located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Perkins purchased Metabolife 356 from Walgreen’s which she claims the retailer advertised, promoted and sold.

Perkins claims that Metabolife and Chemins had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the design, manufacture, labeling, and promotion of its products into the stream of commerce, including a duty to ensure that Metabolife did not cause users to suffer from reasonably foreseeable dangerous side effects and serious health problems.

According to the complaint, Metabolife and Chemins breached its duty to Perkins among the following ways:

  • ...that they failed to use ordinary care in designing and manufacturing Metabolife so as to avoid causing serious side effects and risks to people using it for weight loss;

  • did not issue proper warnings regarding the adverse side effects associated with the use of Metabolife;

  • failed to use qualified scientists or medical personnel in the design, manufacture, labeling, packaging, and sale of Metabolife;

  • ignored the FDA warning on the danger of ephedra alkaloid products; and

  • failed to withdraw Metabolife from the U.S. market when FDA independent research teams concluded ephedra alkaloid products, especially when mixed with caffeine are likely to cause strokes, seizure, sudden death, heart attacks, hypertension, and heart palpitations.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge George Moran.

    04 L 1310

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