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Is the Supplement Industry a Perfect Target for an Easy Payday?

by Matt Weik

Many people believe the supplement industry isn’t regulated and that it’s essentially the wild west where supplement brands are putting anything and everything in products, even if it’s illegal and harmful. Which we all know is not the truth. However, many think they can simply purchase a product, claim it doesn’t work, or they had an adverse effect, and then sue the company.

It’s essentially as stupid as the person who spilled hot coffee from McDonald’s on themselves while driving and got burned and then sued McDonald’s for damages. I mean, in that case, you knew the coffee was hot. You purchased HOT coffee. Yet, the “plaintiff” walked away with an easy payday.

As I look back on some of the lawsuits and claims that have been taken to court over the years, sure, there are some where products were tainted, and ingredients found in the product weren’t on the label, but the majority of the products out there meet label claims, and many brands are looking to enhance transparency to help provided better consumer confidence.

Yet, it still seems like to this day, the supplement industry is a perfect target for an easy payday. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject and why I don’t believe most of the lawsuits that happen today concerning the supplement industry.

1. People Have Sued Supplement Brands and Won BIG in the Past

If shady people catch wind of someone getting hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in a lawsuit against the supplement industry, what do you think is going to happen? There are opportunists who think if someone won big before, they could follow suit and do something similar.

While there are brands out there who are pretty edgy with their formulas, there are many others who want to remain conservative and not walk that fine line of pushing the envelope on things like stimulants and other gray ingredients that could be next on the chopping block to have the FDA step in and eventually take off of the market.

For many brands, they aren’t willing to take the risk even when weighing the reward for being more on the hardcore side of the spectrum. And I’m not even saying that these “Hardcore Products” are necessarily dangerous. However, like with most things, there’s a recommended use and dosage, but even then, people have the mentality that if a little is good, more is better – which opens up a can of worms and potentially a lawsuit.

Additionally, some people use a product, don’t get the results the brand claimed, and sue the company. That’s why supplement claims are under a microscope these days, and brands need to be careful what they say on their product pages and marketing material.

2. Purposeful Negligence for Money

This is a common case where the “more must be better” theory goes south, but people knowingly understand what they are doing is wrong but do it anyway to get a reaction.

Look, if you’re sensitive to stimulants, but you want to down multiple scoops before you work out in the heat, you’re asking for disaster – even a deadly one. Purposely using a supplement incorrectly, whether by thinking you’ll get a better result or to have an actual adverse event just so you can call up a lawyer and tell them you want money from the supplement manufacturer, is like playing Russian roulette with your life.

Yet, we see this be the case in several instances. There have been cases where people took too many fat burner pills or who took too much pre-workout, and it causes them heart palpitations or other adverse health effects. They took too many pills willfully and knowingly, so how is this the fault of anyone in the supplement industry when the person using the product was purposely negligent?

It blows my mind that people get away with this and supplement companies pay them outside of court to keep it hush hush and bury it under the wrong – even when they know they did nothing wrong. Stop being taken advantage of!

3. Blaming an Adverse Event on a Supplement

While somewhat similar to #2, this a simple case of people blaming a supplement for an adverse event or failed drug test when the supplement truly had nothing to do with it. You hear about it all of the time in professional sports where an athlete tests positive for something such as a steroid and then wants to “blame their whey protein powder for being spiked with dangerous steroids and they had no clue there were steroids in the product, or they would never have taken it and shame on that supplement company.”

Meanwhile, the product then gets tested and comes back clear and proves the athlete is just a liar and doesn’t want to take accountability for the fact that he or she actually took steroids or whatever drug is in question and merely wanted to deflect the attention onto a supplement because others have gotten away with it in the past.

Recently there was a case where a stripper took a dry scoop of a fairly well-known pre-workout and then went to the gym, only later to experience a “heart attack,” which she spoke about on her social media.

Here’s where I’m going with this one… sure, she posted images of herself in the hospital, but did she really have a heart attack? Or was she in there for chest pains or even something else and actually fabricated the part where she had an actual heart attack? Was it the fault of the pre-workout? Or was it something else? I’m not going to label all strippers and exotic dancers as drug users, but you can say some of them partake in some nose candy from time to time before “performing.” So, it’s not out of the question to think she may have taken a little too much of a drug that caused the issue, and rather than saying she was using drugs, she blamed the supplement instead.

Something else this woman mentioned was that she doesn’t use caffeine and stimulants. Well, if you’re sensitive to stimulants and you purchase a pre-workout that contains around 300mg per scoop, what exactly do you think is going to happen? So, it’s hard to blame the pre-workout because someone decided not to use their brain that day and do something stupid.

Another such incident involved a young adult who purchased caffeine powder from a friend without knowing how to take it. As you would assume, the individual took an extremely lethal dose, not knowing any better, and it cost this individual their life. Was it the fault of the supplement? No. This person took too much because they didn’t care enough to know how to use the product correctly and in the correct dose.

Overall, I’m just sick of people taking advantage of the supplement industry for a quick stack of money to settle out of court. Let’s be honest, that’s easier on the supplement brand than it would be going to court, so they write a check and walk away from it. But this behavior from some people should not be accepted. In fact, I’d love to see the supplement brands fight back and sue the individuals who try to tarnish their name and product.

What do you think?

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