Sometimes consumers make the mistake of believing that because something does not require a prescription it will not be potent enough to cause serious health issues. However, in the case of diet supplements that tout their ability to help buyers lose weight, the ingredients can be very potent and very harmful even if it is sold on the shelf in the grocery store.
This may be the case for a diet supplement know as OxyELITE, which was just pulled from store shelves after being linked to 29 recent cases of liver failure and acute hepatitis. The removal was voluntary on the part of the manufacturer but it is likely that the Department of Health in the state where the most cases were found would have instituted a mandatory recall, since there were no other common links among the injured patients aside from the diet supplement.
Manufacturers who make diet supplements are responsible for making them safe for consumers. If they fail to adequately warn of the risks or supply consumers with a highly dangerous product, the manufacturer could be held liable for negligence. This applies in many cases where a large number of patients have been injured by a dangerous product or in cases where one specific item or batch was negligently manufactured in a way that made it more dangerous than the rest.
In this case it seems that the chemical nature of the supplement itself is to blame, judging by an FDA warning about the active ingredient that was issued earlier this year.
Source: Huffington Post, “OxyELITE Pro Pulled from Shelves Nationwide After 29 Liver Failure Cases in Hawaii,” Oct. 9, 2013.