Criminal charges filed against manufacturer of weight loss suppl - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Criminal charges filed against manufacturer of weight loss supplement linked to liver failure

File photo of OxyElite Pro supplement File photo of OxyElite Pro supplement
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The manufacturer of a diet supplement that killed a Maui woman and sickened dozens of people in Hawaii has been indicted on charges that it used false certificates of analysis and labeling, and then lied about the source of its ingredients, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

The indictment – part of a nationwide sweep against more than 100 makers and marketers of dietary supplements -- alleged that USPlabs, the maker of OxyElite Pro, told some of its retailers and wholesalers that it used natural plant extracts when it actually used a synthetic stimulant manufactured in China.

Six USPlabs executives also face fraud and conspiracy charges, according to the Justice Department's statement.

Over six months in 2013, more than 70 people suffered serious liver problems after taking the tainted supplement. Of those individuals, 47 of them were hospitalized. Sonnette Marras, a mother of seven from Maui, died of liver failure.

The indictment also alleges that in October that year, USPlabs and its principals told the Food and Drug Administration that they would stop distributing OxyElite Pro, but then engaged in a surreptitious effort to sell as many of the product as quickly as possible.

Nearly 40 lawsuits against the company are still pending.

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