On Tuesday a case was filed in the Southern District of Florida. by Exegi Pharma, LLC against Camillo Ricordi as Editor in Chief of the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Services. The case alleges false advertising and support of a fraudulent product.
Medical journals are highly respected sources of information and education in the medical and pharmacological fields. Articles presented in these journals are supposed to be subject to extensive editorial review and control to confirm the veracity of claims made through independent controls as well as verification through valid studies. If an article is published that is later found to be misleading or fraudulent, typical resolution of this is for the journal to withdraw the article and to cease promotion of the withdrawn article.
The European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Services published an article titled “The safety profile of probiotic VSL#3. A meta-analysis of safety data from double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials” (VSL#3). The VSL#3 article relies upon several clinical studies, however, the integrity of these studies is called into question by the plaintiff as having been authorized with data that was obtained under a different formulation than the final product.
This original formulation is the intellectual property of the plaintiff, according to the complaint, and the plaintiff argues that the studies are giving a false degree of efficacy with incomplete and fraudulently obtained data. The plaintiff also specifically notes that the VSL#3 formulation is currently under two separate injunctions prohibiting the manufacturer from implying or linking the new formulation with the older formulation as fraudulent advertising. The plaintiffs accuse the journal of supporting the storyline of false advertising and product confusion.
The complaint is bringing specific charges of false advertising, unfair trade practices, and tortious interference with business relationships. The plaintiffs are represented by Lash & Goldberg LLP and Schulman Bhattacharya, LLC.