Lawsuits filed around the country have alleged that the manufacturers and marketers of these diet drugs began a strategy in the early 1990's to aggressively market and sell phentermine, fenfluramine (Fen-Phen) and 1996 dexfenfluramine (Redux), often by encouraging unapproved off-label combination use of these products, and by falsely misleading potential users about the products and by failing to protect the users from serious dangers which the defendants knew or should have known of these products.
These lawsuits also make the following allegations:
A. The manufacturers and distributors undertook an advertising blitz extolling the virtues of phentermine, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine in order to encourage widespread use of the products.
B. The marketing campaign consisted of advertisements, promotional literature to be placed in the offices of doctors and other health care providers, and other promotion materials to be provided to potential phentermine, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine users.
C. That the manufacturers and distributors actively encouraged or failed to effectively discourage off-label combinations of these drugs by employing or contracting with commission based salespersons with every incentive to encourage physicians to prescribe them irresponsible.
D. That the manufacturers and distributors actively encouraged and failed to take effective steps to discourage aggressive dispensation of phentermine, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine for persons who are far short of obese. The use of these drugs and the associated risks by persons who were not clinically obese could never be medically justified.
E. That the advertising program as a whole falsely sought to create the image and impression that the use of these diet drugs individually and in combination was safe for human use and had fewer side effects and adverse reactions then other methods of weight loss and that they constituted a convenient safe form of weight loss.
F. That the manufacturers and distributors purposely down played and understated the health hazards and risks associated with the diet drugs and that through their promotional literature deceived potential users of these diet drugs by relaying positive information including testimonials from satisfied users and manipulating statistics to suggest widespread acceptability while down playing the known adverse and serious health risks.
G. That the drugs became so pervasively prescribed throughout the United States that it is likely that in excess of 18 million prescriptions for these drugs were written in the United States in the past year.
H. After notice of problems with the diet drugs and knowledge that injuries had occurred as a result of use of these diet drugs, the manufacturers and distributors negligently failed timely to issue warnings, recall of product, publicized the problem, and otherwise act properly and timely to alert the public.
I. That the manufacturers and distributors sold and promoted the drug as safe and effective knowing that was not true; knowing that it would not reduce weight substantially or for a long period of time; knowing that it was associated with serious and often fatal side effects; did not warn that it was a controlled substance; did not warn that it was an unapproved use of the product to prescribe it for a long period of time or in conjunction with other weight loss drugs; did not warn that prescribing doctor should be limited to those who specialized in the treatment of obesity; promoted it for cosmetic loss of weight and not limited to morbid obesity; did not warn that the combination use of the product had not been studied as to safety in animals or humans; violated the control substance laws; encouraged misuse and overuse while underplaying side effects to doctors and the public in order to make a profit for sales; prayed on the cupidity of doctors and the fears of overweight members of American Society.