Attorney General Seeks Closure Of HRC Medical - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Consumer Alert

Attorney General Seeks Closure Of HRC Medical

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By Jennifer Kraus
Consumer Investigator

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee's attorney general has asked a Davidson County judge to shut down a popular hormone replacement company based in Nashville.

HRC Medical was the subject of an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation.

Among the stunning allegations contained in the lawsuit, the attorney general said HRC gets its drugs from a compounding pharmacy with a long history of problems.

In a 160-page complaint filed on Monday, the AG made some serious allegations against HRC Medical, asking that HRC's clinic in Nashville be shut down, as well as the rest of the company -- in all, nearly three dozen clinics in 22 states.

As NewsChannel 5 Investigates first exposed nearly a year ago, HRC has long made questionable claims about what its heavily promoted hormone replacement therapy can do. HRC patients told NewsChannel 5 that they were overdosed on hormones and suffered serious, sometimes life-changing, side effects.

"My voice is deeper, and now I have hair on my chin, my upper life and sides of my face," one female patient explained back in November of 2011. 

The company insisted the NewsChannel 5 investigation reporting was wrong.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked HRC spokesman Bill Fletcher last year, "Are you telling me that not one patient has been overdosed?"

"We've got no records of any overdose -- no," Fletcher replied.

The Tennessee attorney general now confirms what NewsChannel 5 first reported, that HRC Medical routinely gave women massive amounts of testosterone so their levels were at what is typically found in men, while men were given enough testosterone so their levels were two to three times what is found in normal men.

It's all spelled out in the scathing complaint filed by the Attorney General's Office Monday in Davidson County Circuit Court.

The AG argues that HRC should be shut down immediately because "it's endangered the health of consumers without their knowledge, significantly impaired the quality of life for an untold number of consumers, and caused widespread economic loss."

Read the lawsuit filed against HRC Medical

Dr. Dan Hale -- who was the "medical director" of HRC and the face of the company -- along with his brother Don Hale, who ran the business end of HRC, are both named in the suit and are accused of running a company that operated in a "persistently fraudulent manner" that repeatedly made "false and misleading statements" about the hormone replacement therapy the company marketed as "Amor Vie."

According to the complaint, Dr. Hale, who claimed to be an expert in hormone therapy, got most of his training from a two-day conference. The lawsuit claims that HRC's therapy program was created with an unlicensed medical assistant who had no formal training, just a medical assistant's certificate from the Nashville Court Reporting Academy.

The Attorney General's Office also nailed HRC for continuing to use a compounding pharmacy to make its hormone pellets -- even though HRC knew that the New York-based MasterPlarm had continuing problems with quality control, making the release of hormones in patients "wholly unpredictable and potentially dangerous."

The complaint also describes how HRC was so desperate to have a licensed medical professional on staff that the company kept a nurse who was suspected by HRC managers and employees of being under the influence of illegal drugs while at work, even after she admitted to giving implants to the wrong patients.

HRC finally fired her two months later after she failed a drug test, the lawsuit says.

The attorney general is now waiting for a hearing to ask a judge to issue a temporary restraining order against company.

While the company has insisted and promoted that it has more than 30,000 satisfied customers, according to the complaint, that number was highly inflated. It claims that many of the company's featured "success stories" were employees, their family members, and patients who had been compensated.

We made efforts to contact HRC for comment through their spokesperson. Our calls were not returned.

E-mail: jkraus@newschannel5.com

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