Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago-area medical spas, Nu U Med Spas, for performing unapproved procedures without a physician's supervision and luring patients through deceptive marketing.
This looks like it started with an expose by local Chicago television news.
The seven NuU Medspas in the Chicago area aggressively promote Lipodissolve, a series of injections that supposedly will melt your fat away.
The ads talk about reduced inches with no knives, no tubes, and no pain -- a deceptive ad, patients say.
NuU does not tell clients that Lipodissolve is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
"There is no study out there that shows clearly whether it works and what specifically are the risks of it," said Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Dr. Michael Lee.
That's not a problem, said NuU district supervisor Laura Rowsey, formerly a modeling school sales manager.
"This is a soy-based mineral with amino acids," Rowsey said. "Bruising and swelling is like your worst case scenario with this treatment."
But doctors have seen a number of Lipodissolve complications.
Cynthia Sacramento, who went to the Lincoln Park spa, suffered painful scar tissue buildup around her injection site that will require surgery.
Dr. David Song of University of Chicago Hospital said the entire injection area will have to be excised.
Sacramento said she's devastated.
Even proponents say Lipodissolve is for treating pockets of fat, not for bigger weight problems.
NuU in Lincoln Park signed another former client, who preferred to remain anonymous, up for $2,400 in treatments on his belly.
"I think it's a big scam, a waste of money," he said. "The only thing that got thin on me was my wallet."
NuU sales people are pressured to meet sales goals and arrange for many clients to finance their treatments. The money is collected up front and NuU claims it's not refundable.
"Our goal was to get $15,000 a day," said former NuU spa manager Patti Feinstein.
Feinstein recalled how Rowsey scolded her for turning away a skin cancer patient saying, "You are not going to make quota if you don't sell," Feinstein said.
Records show her spa sold made more than $200,000 a month.
Ouch. You have to love how a reporter makes a point of stating that the Nu U spokesperson was fromerly a sales manager for a modeling school. Looks like another slap-down for Nu U Medspas. Madigan's complaint claims that Nu U Med Spas try to lure customers into buying "Lipodissolve, which is an injected therapy used to dissolve fat cells." Here's the full press release:
MADIGAN FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST CHICAGO AREA Nu U MEDICAL SPAS
Attorney General Alleges Nu U Performed Unapproved Procedures Without Physician Supervision And Used Deceptive Marketing to Lure Patients
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Nu U Med Spas for deceptively marketing and performing unapproved, unsupervised cosmetic treatments that caused some patients to experience extreme pain and lasting injuries.
“These procedures have yet to be thoroughly researched and sanctioned by the proper medical authorities,” Madigan said. “Despite lacking concrete scientific evidence, Nu U purposefully misleads consumers into believing that their medical spa treatments are safe and effective. I’m very concerned that the health and safety of Illinois consumers who visit Nu U Med Spas are at risk.”
The Chicago-based medical spa chain allegedly uses high-pressure sales tactics based on deceptive marketing claims to induce consumers into purchasing a series of medical and beauty treatments, including Lipodissolve, which is an injected therapy used to dissolve fat cells, according to Madigan’s complaint. Nu U allegedly claims its treatments will “liquefy fat quicker” and can “rid your system of that life long battle of the bulge,” but Nu U fails to inform consumers that its treatments haven’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective treatments. Both the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons do not recommend using Lipodissolve for fat reduction due to the lack of research that shows its effectiveness.
Further, because Lipodissolve is an injected treatment, it requires a physician’s order, but Nu U allegedly administers the fat-reducing treatment without a doctor’s order. In fact, despite its outward claims, Nu U allegedly fails altogether to monitor and evaluate patients by licensed physicians at all seven of its Chicago area locations.
Madigan’s complaint further alleges that the Nu U personnel rush consumers into signing contracts, medical consent forms and financing documentation for treatments but fail to review the documents with consumers. The defendants allegedly pressure consumers to sign up for health care financing but fail to inform consumers that by signing the financial documentation they are authorizing an automatic credit card charge. Nu U allegedly refuses to provide refunds when requested, even in the event that a consumer has not received all of the contracted treatments.
Madigan’s lawsuit charges Nu U with violating the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Illinois Medical Practice Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. It asks the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from owning or operating medical or beauty clinics in Illinois and to order the company to pay civil penalties of $50,000, an additional $50,000 penalty for each violation committed with the intent to defraud, an additional $10,000 penalty for each violation committed against a senior citizen 65 years of age or older, and the costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of the lawsuit.
To be honest, this looks like some grandstanding on the part of the Attorney General. Lipodissolve is used in perhaps thousands of medical spas and cosmetic practices around the country without 'painfull scar tissue build up' and complications.
And what does it actually mean when. "Dr. David Song of University of Chicago Hospital said the entire injection area will have to be excised."? An entire treatment area excised from needle sticks? Seems fishy to me. Might well be something of a hatchet-job.
Anyone have thoughts on this?