Two antibiotic pills
A Georgia based health supplement maker has been forced to recall its products after it was sued for marketing diet supplement pills as antibiotics. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A health supplement company has been ordered to recall its line of dietary supplements from store shelves in nine states for marketing its products as antibiotics. Multi-Mex Distributors Inc., is suspected of intentionally naming and packaging Amoxilina, a dietary supplement, to resemble an over-the-counter antibiotic sold in Mexico, in order to trick customers into buying it.

Supplement pills recalled over deceitful packaging

A Georgia-based supplement maker has been compelled to recall pills it sells in drug stores all over the U.S. because of misleading packaging, according to WalletPop. Multi-Mex Distributors Inc. was served a temporary restraining order from the Texas Attorney General on May 6, and the company was told it had to immediately stop selling its pills in Texas. That led the company to inform the Food and Drug Administration that it was beginning a recall. The issue is over the packaging of the pills the company sells. One of its health supplements, Amoxilina, has a nearly identical name and packaging to an over-the-counter brand of amoxicillin, an antibiotic, that is sold in Mexico.

Parents mistook diet pills for medicine

Four children were admitted to hospitals in Texas after taking Amoxilina. Their parents had given the children Amoxilina believing it was amoxicillin, causing treatment to be delayed and the children to get sicker. Sandra Salazar, owner of Multi-Mex, which is based in Tucker, Ga., said she had no idea why anyone thought the pills were antibiotics, according to Fox News. The box for Amoxil, theĀ  over-the-counter version of amoxicillin, and Amoxilina have nearly identical white and blue two-tone packaging, and read “500 mg” in red lettering. Amoxilina capsule packaging reads “Cualidades Antibioticas Naturales,” meaning “quality natural antibiotics.” Multi-Mex sells pills in California, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, Tennessee, Illinois and in Indianapolis. The Multi-Mex recall affects Amoxilina, Bisolbom Jarabe, Calcio + D Lilquido, M. Vermex, Neolubrina Jarabe, Neolubrina Tabletas, Pentrexmil Plus, Sinalar Gotas, Terramocina, Vitaderogil Gotas and Vitaderogil Jarabe supplements, according to the FDA.

Off label use can be dangerous

Off-label use of medication, or using a medicine for an illness it isn’t intended for, can be dangerous. Some physicians look out for their wallet as much as their patients when filling out a prescription. For instance, one in seven Medicare patients in nursing homes is prescribed anti-psychotic medications they shouldn’t be taking, according to MSNBC. Drugs such as Seroquel, Abilify and Risperdal were found by a Department of Health and Human services audit to have been prescribed to elderly patients with dementia. None of those drugs are dementia medications. They are all are designer drugs from major pharmaceutical companies. Erroneous prescribing by physicians costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year because of Medicare and Medicaid disbursements for the medications. Pharmaceutical companies are known to offer incentives to physicians for prescribing expensive brand name medications.

Sources

Wallet Pop: http://www.walletpop.com/2011/05/11/lawsuit-prompts-recall-of-diet-pills-marketed-as-antibiotics/?icid=maing-grid7|main5|dl6|sec3_lnk1|62339

Fox News: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2011/05/09/texas-ags-office-sues-antibiotics-marketed-latinos/

Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm254605.htm

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42977111/ns/health-aging/

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