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Hawaii island woman sues maker and seller of diet pills

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A Hawaii island woman is suing two companies who made and sold a dietary supplement that was pulled from shelves as state health officials investigate links to cases of hepatitis and liver failure.

Lawyers for Everine Van Houten, 33, of Keaau, said Wednesday that she bought and used OxyELITE Pro, then began experiencing abdominal pain, fatigue and nausea one month later. The lawyers say she was diagnosed with acute hepatitis, then later learned of the possible link to the supplement through a public health notice.

The personal injury lawsuit was filed in federal court in Hawaii on Tuesday. It names USPlabs LLC as the maker of the supplement and GNC Holdings Inc. as the owner of the store where Van Houten bought the supplement. The supplement is marketed to be used for weight loss and muscle building.

A spokeswoman for Pittsburgh-based GNC declined to comment, saying the company doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits as a matter of corporate policy. USPlabs did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment from The Associated Press.

Hawaii’s Health Department ordered stores to stop selling the supplement last month, then began collecting stocks of the supplement, which comes in pill and powder form. The department stopped short of a plan to destroy the supplements Wednesday when a Hawaii lawyer asked that they be preserved as possible evidence in future litigation.

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