What is GNC?
GNC Holdings, Inc., is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based retailer of specialty health, wellness, and performance products. The company sells a wide assortment of protein and herbal supplements, vitamins, weight loss pills, greens, health and beauty, food and drink, and other general merchandise. This line of products features proprietary GNC and nationally recognized third-party brands.
What’s the Problem with GNC Supplements?
All prescription and non-prescription medications in the U.S. are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, dietary supplements are not considered drugs and therefore are not subject to the same strict safety and effectiveness requirements that drugs are. So all the drugs you can buy, even without a prescription, must be proven safe and effective – but dietary supplements do not. Our lawyers believe that GNC should be held to a higher standard due to the severe potential health risks associated with the products it sells, and must take responsibility for conducting ingredient research and voluntarily recall supplements when safety concerns arise.
Defective Supplement Injuries
Our lawyers are accepting potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who suffered any of the following injuries after taking a GNC product:
- Heart disease / heart attack
- Blood clots
- Kidney failure / renal disease
- Neurological injuries
- Liver damage
- And more
GNC Supplement List
GNC markets potentially harmful dietary supplements that fall into 3 main categories: Workout Supplements, Weight-Loss Supplements, Testosterone Replacement Products.
Supplements which contain stimulants that increase heart rate and blood pressure, causing acute cardiovascular injuries including heart attack and stroke.
Supplements that contain stimulants like ephedra which have been linked to severe cardiovascular injuries and death.
Popular testosterone boosters sold at GNC which have been linked to severe heart and liver injuries include:
Class Action Alleges GNC Misbranded Dietary Supplements
A class action lawsuit (PDF) filed in the Northern District of California alleges that GNC’s sale of certain dietary supplements is illegal in that the products are not labeled with a disclaimer stating they have not been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Specifically, the suit contends that GNC misled, deceived and ultimately profited off consumers by selling supplements with labels that lack a mandatory, prominently displayed disclaimer that reads, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
GNC supplements named in the class action include:
- GNC Men’s Prostate Formula Dietary Supplement (“Prostate Health”)
- GNC Diabetic Support Dietary Supplement (“Diabetic Support”)
- GNC Preventive Nutrition Healthy Blood Pressure Formula Supplement
- GNC Women’s Ultra Mega Active Supplement
- GNC Mega Men Healthy Testosterone (“Mega Men Performance”)
The lawsuit is: RICHA ARORA, RANDY CLINTON, and WALTER JOHNSTON v. GNC HOLDINGS, INC. Case No. 3:19-cv-02414. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
GNC Settles Dietary Supplements Case: CBSN Video
GNC Fined $2.5 Million for DMAA in OxyElite Pro
In December 2016, GNC agreed to pay $2.25 million in a settlement with the Department of Justice to resolve allegations that the company marketed supplements that contained hidden drug ingredients, according to NBC News. As part of the settlement, GNC agreed to:
- Tighter regulations over the supplements it sells
- Remove products that contain illegal and unsafe ingredients
- Keep a list of safe-to-sell products
“A lengthy investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division revealed that GNC’s practices related to ensuring the legality of products on its shelves were lacking,” DOJ said. “GNC engaged in acts and omissions that allowed a misbranded supplement — OxyElite Pro Advanced Formula, a product of Dallas-based USPlabs LLC (USP Labs) — to be sold at GNC locations nationwide in 2013.”
What is DMAA?
dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is a powerful stimulant that was contained in many popular workout supplements sold at GNC, including OxyElite Pro and Jack3d, which medical experts say has similar effects on the body as amphetamines. DMAA was marketed as a “natural” stimulant with many functional uses including a bodybuilding aid, athletic performance enhancer and weight-loss aid. However, although DMAA was once approved as a nasal decongestion drug, no medical use for the substance is recognized today. Furthermore, the Food & Drug Administration has not found any reliable science indicating the substance exists naturally in plants. DMAA was banned in the U.S. in 2012 after being linked to the deaths of at least 5 people.
DMAA Side Effects
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart attack
- Liver damage or liver failure
- Kidney damage or kidney failure
- Psychiatric side effects
- Elevated blood pressure
- Sudden cardiac death
Lawsuit Alleges GNC Sold Banned Supplements
In October 2015, the Attorney General of Oregon filed a lawsuit against GNC alleging that the company knowingly sold products containing the synthetic compounds picamilon and BMPEA, both of which are banned by the FDA. Internal company records indicated that a key GNC official knew as early as 2007 the ingredients weren’t natural, and therefore could not lawfully be included in dietary supplements, according to the lawsuit.
GNC Files for Bankruptcy
In June 2020, GNC Holdings, Inc. and 16 affiliated debtors filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The cases are pending before Karen B. Owens, administered under Case No. 20-11662.
Do I Have a GNC Supplement Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in GNC Supplement Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a supplement sold by GNC, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.