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Jack3d Warning! “Supplement” Linked to Deaths

Posted by Rob Jenner on Feb 14, 2013 in Consumer Alerts

A workout booster considered too dangerous to be sold on military bases continues to be widely available despite warnings by the FDA that it contains a drug that could cause heart attacks. Do not take this drug-disguised-as-supplement, and warn your workout buddies.

The product, called Jack3d (pronounced “Jacked”), contains a stimulant – dimethylamylamine, or DMAA – that is known to restrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure and heart rate. In 2011, the Defense Department removed all products containing DMAA from military bases following the deaths of two soldiers who used it.

On Wednesday, the parents of one of these soldiers, Michael L. Sparling, filed a lawsuit against USPLabs, the developer and marketer of the product, and GNC, the store that sold it. The lawsuit claims the companies failed to tell consumers about its potential health risks, while at the same time marketing it as “safe and effective.”

Jack3d falls into the “no man’s land” of drugs-marketed-as-nutritional-supplements that continues to challenge the FDA’s attempts at regulation.

Despite repeated warnings from the FDA that the product contains an ingredient that is classified as a drug, USPLabs and nutritional stores like GNC continue to make Jack3d available. The FDA is facing mounting criticism that it is acting too slowly to get DMAA-containing products off the market. Health regulators in at least seven countries, including Great Britain, already ban DMAA from all supplements, according to a story in The New York Times.

Where the FDA has so far failed to get this product off the market, the lawsuit will be more effective. Lawsuits have the advantage of being able to attract a company’s serious attention when federal regulators don’t. The prospect of paying lawyers and losing in front of a jury filled with real people who tend to see through company baloney can work wonders at helping keep  the public safe.

As a dangerous drug and medical device attorney, I see this situation all the time – companies figuring they can run up profits by taking advantage of legal loopholes, and the public’s safety be damned.

As I have said many times in these posts, pharmaceuticals are made to alter the body’s mechanisms and only should be taken by those that understand the risks. The same goes for “nutritional supplements.”

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