The state Department of Health wants a weight-loss supplement yanked from store shelves.
It's investigating a possible link between OxyELITE Pro and cases of hepatitis and liver failure in Hawaii.
Since May, the DOH says it's investigated 29 cases of acute hepatitis and liver failure in healthy adults around the state.
In 24 of those cases, health officials say patients reported using OxyELITE Pro before their illness.
So far, one person has died and two others underwent liver transplants.
Twenty-five health inspectors are visiting stores across the state, handing retailers a letter.
"We're delivering the director's request to voluntarily remove that product from sales," said Gary Gill, Department of Health Deputy Director.
The request is to remove all forms of OxyELITE Pro from shelves.
The state says 24 people in Hawaii became ill after using the product.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating other cases on the mainland that may be related to the product.
But the Texas-based company that makes OxyELITE Pro told the Food and Drug Administration it does not know of any credible evidence linking this product to liver issues.
"So, we feel like there's enough of an association and that the effects are so severe that we needed to take some action," Department of Health Director Loretta Fuddy said.
But not every retailer is doing what they're being asked.
"We have one report so far that the GNC store in Ala Moana Center has told our inspector they choose not to remove the product from the store," Gill said.
In fact, KHON2 went there Tuesday and purchased a bottle. We even noticed the product being advertised in the window of the store and right next to the cash register.
KHON2 investigated further and checked out the store Muscle Inc. in Aiea. The retailer was still selling the powder form of OxyELITE Pro.
"So the powder's okay, but not the pills?" KHON2 asked.
"Um, yeah. They told us to take off the pills," a Muscle Inc. employee said.
The state says it is asking retailers to remove all forms of the product, which is what the Vitamin Shoppe in Aiea did.
"The OxyElite Pro. Do you sell that product anymore?" KHON2 asked.
"Right now it is because we're in compliance with the State of Hawaii. For the safety of our customers, it is off the shelves," a Vitamin Shoppe employee said.
If retailers do not pull the product, the state can decide to embargo its sale.
KHON2 wanted to know why GNC is still selling the product, but the corporate office did not return our calls.
If you're using a dietary supplement or feel sick after using it, you should talk to your doctor.
OxyELITE Pro's distributor, USPlabs, released the following statement Tuesday:
The company stands by the safety of all of its products. The company is cooperating with FDA on reports coming out of Hawaii. The cluster of liver issues in Hawaii is a complete mystery and nothing like this has ever been associated with OxyELITE Pro in all of the years our products have been in the market. We know of no credible evidence linking OxyELITE Pro to liver issues. The ingredients have been studied for safety, are consumed in the food supply and widely used in dietary supplements. The studies and consumption history show no negative liver issues. Due to multiple products within the OxyELITE Pro brand, it may be confusing as to which products are being looked at. The specific products are the original OxyELITE Pro with DMAA, OxyELITE Pro with the “Purple Top” and OxyELITE Pro Super Thermo Powder. The original version with DMAA has not been manufactured or distributed since early 2013. Out of an abundance of caution, the company has ceased domestic distribution of OxyElite Pro with the Purple Top and OxyElite Pro Super Thermo Powder until the investigation has been completed. The company continues to believe these versions are safe and are not the cause of the cluster of liver toxicity that has occurred in Hawaii.
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