One of the most lucrative industries is the nutritional vitamins and supplements market. They’re sold over-the-counter and are not closely monitored by the FDA. In fact, the FDA has a label warning on the products telling the consumer that the products are not checked by the agency. Of course, food and nutritional products are subject to the product liability laws of each state, including West Virginia. If a defective product is put on the market and it causes injury to the intended user, who used it in the manner intended without changes, the maker of the product is strictly liable for the injuries caused.
There is a recent rush of complaints and serious injuries possibly relating to the intake of certain dietary supplements. Some products have reportedly been sending users to the hospital, some with serious liver damage, according to a major news publication. Regarding one product, there have been reports from more than one state of acute liver failure or hepatitis caused by the supplement. The product is marketed by a Texas manufacturer but the greatest damage has been reported in Hawaii where 43 people were seriously injured, with one death and even some liver transplants being required.
The company tried to insulate itself by placing a disclaimer on its website disavowing any responsibility for damages from the product. It’s unlikely that such a belated disclaimer will work, since it’s not on the bottles that were marketed. Furthermore, a general disclaimer is insufficient to relieve the manufacturer of liability. The only possible way to escape responsibility would be for the manufacturer to place specific warnings of severe liver disease or death on the labels.
It was also reported that some of the nutritional or weight loss manufacturers were spiking their products with unlisted steroids and other unsafe substances. The latest product reported to be unsafe by the FDA was aptly called Mass Destruction. It allegedly caused a man to need a liver transplant. Defective product cases in West Virginia can be best evaluated by obtaining a consultation with an attorney experienced in product liability cases.
Source: The Fresno Bee, EDITORIAL: Make New Year’s resolutions come true without potions, No author, Dec. 26, 2013