Metanx substitute not equivalent, says class action against Walgreens

Michelle Massey Nov. 30, 2010, 2:42am


A class action filed against Walgreens accuses the retailer of dispensing two medical foods that allegedly are not generic equivalents of Metanx -- a dietary supplement for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Bruce Baine proposes to lead the class in the case filed Nov. 18 in federal court in New Orleans.

Accordig to the complaint, Walgreens dispensed Folast or Neurpath-B instead of the medical food Metanx--an oral prescription medical food for the dietary management of endothelial dysfunction. The food combats diabetic neuropathy by improving the overall health of the blood vessels and capillaries that carry nutrients and oxygen to the nerves, the suit states.

Folast and Neurpath-B are manufactured by Acella Pharmaceuticals and are marketed as a generic equivalent of Metanx. The complaint states that these medical foods are manufactured containing components from a non-certified Chinese manufacturer. Further, the lawsuit claims there are no comparative studies indicating the foods are generic equivalents, though there are studies showing they are not.

Walgreens is accused of violating Louisiana Civil Codes, for negligent misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranty, unjust enrichment, suppression of material facts or fraud, redhibition and violation of Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiff is asking for restitution and disgorgement of Walgreen's revenues, an injunction preventing Walgreen's from dispensing Folast and Neurpath-B, and an award of punitive damages, attorneys' fees and court costs.

Baine is represented by Walter Leger Jr., Franklin Shaw and Christine Sevin of Leger & Shaw in New Orleans, Previous Martin, Sr. of Precious Martin Sr. & Associates in Jackson, Miss., Scott Weinstein, Gregorio Francis, J. Andrew Meyer, Tamra Givens and Rachel Soffin of Morgan & Morgan in Florida.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhart is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-04364

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