Oregon Files Lawsuit Against GNC for Selling Nutritional Supplements with Ingredients Not Approved in U.S.

October 22, 2015
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​Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today filed a lawsuit against General Nutrition Corporation, GNC, for selling nutritional and dietary supplements containing the illegal ingredients picamilon and BMPEA. The lawsuit alleges that the company violated the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act (UTPA) by misrepresenting certain products as lawful dietary supplements when they are actually unapproved drugs that may not be lawfully sold in the United States as a dietary supplement.  The complaint also alleges that GNC sold products labeled as containing botanical acacia rigidula that had been spiked with unlabeled BMPEA.

“It is scary to know that certain products sold by GNC contain an ingredient that is not even labeled—let alone approved in the United States,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “When Oregonians buy a dietary supplement, they deserve to know that the ingredients in the products are safe and comply with the law. There are 25 GNC stores in Oregon that sold thousands of these products over the span of a couple of years.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in Multnomah Circuit Court, also alleges that GNC sold thousands of units of products in Oregon that contained picamilon or BMPEA that were falsely labeled as a dietary supplement.

Picamilon is a synthetic chemical that is not approved in the United States, but is used as a prescription drug in some countries to treat neurological conditions. Products containing BMPEA, a powerful stimulant and amphetamine-like substance, are sometimes sold as weight loss or performance enhancing nutritional supplements.

Attorney General Rosenblum once again commended the work of Assistant Attorney General David Hart and his DOJ team. In May, Mr. Hart led an Oregon settlement with the national retailer Vitamin Shoppe to ban BMPEA from its products. The Attorney General also commended the work of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their technical assistance in the investigation.

The complaint can be found here.


Kristina Edmunson, Department of Justice, Kristina.Edmunson@doj.state.or.us, 503-378-6002