The state now wants the weight-loss product linked to liver damage in Hawaii away from consumers. The Department of Health placed an embargo on the sale of OxyELITE Pro.
Health inspectors are visiting stores again Thursday to make sure the product is not being sold and is out of sight.
"So, we're going out immediately with an embargo," DOH Director Loretta Fuddy said.
Fuddy is putting a halt on the sale of all forms of OxyELITE Pro as the state continues to investigate 29 case, including 24 people who used the product before becoming ill.
"We really believe that this is a serious situation and that's why we're taking this action," Fuddy said.
"It should be totally embargoed from my perspective. I think it should absolutely not be sold here," said Sen. Josh Green (D), Health Committee Chair.
Sen. Green believes the embargo should have come sooner.
"Even just one or two people affected, even if there's a link to a product, I prefer that we take the side of caution and stop sales of that kind of product," Sen. Green said.
On Wednesday, state health inspectors visited nearly 100 stores, asking retailers to stop selling the supplement.
"So the only company that we heard that was not willing to cooperate is GNC," Fuddy said.
But earlier Wednesday, GNC said it decided otherwise and pulled OxyELITE Pro from shelves. On Thursday, health inspectors will hit the pavement again to make sure GNC and others are complying.
"What we'll be doing is going back out into the field. We'll be documenting and taking inventory of the stock. If they are caught selling it, there will be fines that will be levied," Fuddy said.
They'll face fines and possibly a year in prison. And this warning isn't just for retailers. Consumers should not take this lightly.
"Do you want to take a chance with potentially deadly effects to your liver? I would say no. So I would recommend everybody that's on this dietary supplement to stop the supplement now," said Dr. Kalani Brady, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.
This embargo will continue until the investigation is complete.
At that time, the state will decide whether to allow retailers to sell the product again or have it removed and destroyed.
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