Posted October 28, 2015

GNC Accused of Selling Supplements with Unlawful Ingredients

On October 22, 2015, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a lawsuit against supplement retailer GNC, alleging that the company sold products that were adulterated with BMPEA and picamilon, which are not lawful dietary supplement ingredients. The lawsuit states that GNC "knew or should have known" the products contained these unlawful ingredients. 

BMPEA (beta- methylphenylethylamine) is a synthetic, amphetamine-like compound found in some weight loss and workout supplements. It is often found in supplements labeled as containing Acacia rigidula, although it does not appear to be a component of this plant. It is not a legal dietary supplement ingredient. The Attorney General's lawsuit contends GNC should have known as early as 2013 that BMPEA was not a lawful dietary ingredient but continued selling products containing BMPEA until April 2015, when the FDA formally announced it did not meet the definition of a dietary ingredient and issued warning letters to a number of supplement manufacturers.  Products containing BMPEA sold by GNC include Fastin and Fastin DMAA Free (Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals), Meltdown (VPX Sports) and Isolean 2 (Advanced Nutrition Systems).

Picamilon is a synthetic compound of GABA and niacin found in some supplements promoted for physical performance or cognitive enhancement. According to the lawsuit, GNC was aware as early as May of 2007 that it was not a lawful dietary supplement ingredient, but sold products containing the compound, such as Charge Extreme Energy Booster (Labrada Bodybuilding Nutrition), Turbo Shred (Swole Sports Nutrition) and Mr. Hyde - Fruit Punch (Prosupps USA LLC) until September of 2015.

GNC has filed a motion to remove the lawsuit. A statement issued by the company noted," There is no basis for the Oregon Attorney General's assertion that GNC or any other retailer "knew or should have known" that these ingredients were not legal for use in dietary supplements. As a matter of law, this critical legal issue remains undetermined as neither FDA nor any court has issued a legally binding determination of the status of these ingredients. GNC stopped selling products with BMPEA and picamilon, immediately upon learning indirectly, rather than from notice directed at GNC, that FDA did not view BMPEA and picamilon as legal dietary ingredients."   

See Related Warnings:

FDA Identifies More Products Listing Synthetic Amphetamine

Does Your Weight Loss or Sports Supplement Contain Synthetic Amphetamine?

Study Finds Some Vinpocetine Supplements Contain No Vinpocetine

To read the complaint filed against GNC, which includes a list of products containing BMPEA and picamilon which were sold by the company, use the link below.