Chicago-area spas hit with lawsuit over fat-dissolving drug

Nick Rees Dec. 9, 2009, 3:00pm

Lisa Madigan (D)

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Unapproved, unsupervised cosmetic treatments by a Chicago-based spa group that left some patients with extreme pain and lasting injuries have led to a lawsuit recently filed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan's lawsuit against the Nu U Med Spas also alleges that the chain employed deceptive marketing claims to entice consumers into purchasing medical and beauty treatments, including Lipodissolve, an injected therapy used to dissolve fat cells.

"These procedures have yet to be thoroughly researched and sanctioned by the proper medical authorities," Madigan said. "Despite lacking concrete scientific evidence, Nu U purposefully misleads consumers into believing that their medical spa treatments are safe and effective. I'm very concerned that the health and safety of Illinois consumers who visit Nu U Med Spas are at risk."

Madigan charges Nu U with violations of the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Illinois Medical practice Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices act.

Nu U claimed that Lipodissolve would "liquefy fat quicker" as well as "rid your system of that life long battle of the bulge." Consumers were not informed, however, that the treatments were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective treatments.

Lipodissolve is not recommended for fat reduction by either the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons due to the lack of research showing its effectiveness.

An injected treatment, Lipodissolve requires a physician's order to be administered. Madigan's suit alleges that Nu U administers the treatment without a required doctor's order and, despite claims otherwise, fails altogether to monitor and evaluate patients by licensed physicians at all seven of its Chicago-area locations.

The complaint against Nu U also alleges that personnel at the spas rush consumers into signing contracts, medical consent forms and financing documentation for treatments while failing to review the documents with consumers. The consumers are allegedly pressured to sign up for health care financing but are not informed that they are authorizing an automatic credit card charge by signing the documentation.

Nu U allegedly also fails to provide consumers with refunds when requested, even if a consumer has not received all of the contracted treatments.

Madigan's suit against Nu U asks the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from owning or operating medical or beauty clinics in Illinois. Further, it asks that the court order the company to pay $50,000 in civil penalties as well as an additional $50,000 penalty for each violation committed with the intent to defraud and a $10,000 penalty for each violation committed against a senior citizen.

The suit also seeks to recover the costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of the lawsuit.

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