EXCLUSIVE: Months after recall, new OxyElite Pro illnesses reported

EXCLUSIVE: New OxyElite Pro illnesses reported
OxyElite Pro
OxyElite Pro

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been three months since the recall, but medical experts say people are still getting sick from taking OxyElite Pro diet pill.

"We're still seeing people who are sick... with yellow jaundice. So it's still happening," said Dr. Naoky Tsai, director of Queen's Medical Center's Liver Center.

More than 50 people nationwide, including 33 people in Hawaii, have gotten sick from taking the OxyElite Pro supplement, including a Maui mother of seven who died in October.

The Liver Center said its latest patient came in just last week.

"In a way it makes me sad that despite the effort we put in, the Department of Health put in, the CDC, the FDA. Patients are still taking it and they're still able to get it, and they get hurt," said Dr. Marina Roytman, an Internist at the Liver Center.

Today, leaders from the Queen's Liver Center told state lawmakers they're almost certain that the harmful ingredient is aegeline, a synthetic version of a natural substance found in bael trees.

The illnesses have spawned a number lawsuits just as investigators are getting closer to knowing why Hawaii has the bulk of the cases.

The Queen's team thinks its linked to genetics since most of the victims were of Pacific Island ancestry and almost all were obese.

"I hope to never ever see this type of outbreak in my life," said Roytman.

"The closest thing I can link it to is an outbreak of an illness -- almost like a war with casualties."

Although all of the recalled OxyElite Pro products have been destroyed, state lawmakers are considering more regulation of the dietary supplement industry.

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