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Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Blames Supplement Maker for Suspension and Files Suit

6-oxoPhiladelphia Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero was suspended for the first 50 games of this season after testing positive for steroids last year.  Romero filed a lawsuit against nutritional supplement manufacturer ErgoPharm, Inc. for manufacturing the supplement 6-OXO and 6OXO Extreme without indicating on the label that the supplement included Androstenedione (“Andro”), a MLB banned substance.  http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4105353

Patrick Arnold, a chemist who runs ErgoPharm and has a history working with steroids, put out a statement claiming that there is a warning label on the 6-OXO  supplements which states “Use of this product may be banned by some athletic or government associations.”

In order to have a product liability claim for having an inadequate warning label, a plaintiff must prove that the average person looking at the warning label would find that the label failed to warn of possible dangers or cause consumers to not understand, be  confused by, or find the warning label is not properly visible.  The outcome of this case is extremely hard to predict as the case will probably be tried in front of a jury.  Juries can be extremely unpredictable and nothing is ever guaranteed no matter how good a case a party may have.  In any event, if Romero’s lawyers can prove that the warning was inadequate, he will probably be entitled to damages in the form of lost salary due to the suspension and possibly punitive damages to make an example of the company.

Athletes use supplements at their own risk, but it should be the manufacturers who are held accountable if they are aware of potentially banned substances being included in their supplements and not giving proper warnings.  In order to help athletes make better choices when choosing supplements to put in their body, major league sports should be required to provide a list of approved substances if they don’t do it already.  Thus, if a player tests positive from the use of an approved supplement they shouldn’t get in trouble and risk losing salary due to unjustified suspensions.

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