AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced on Thursday that he has obtained a temporary restraining order against two companies that allegedly unlawfully market and dispense dietary supplements.
The Georgia-based Multimex Distributions Inc. and the Houston-based San Martin Distributing Inc. allegedly targeted Hispanic communities while marketing the dietary supplement Amoxilina. Amoxilina is very similar to the Spanish translation for the antibiotic Amoxicillin.
According to court documents filed by the state, the defendants unlawfully marketed Amoxilina to Hispanic families in an alleged attempt to deceive them into believing they were actually purchasing the antibiotic Amoxicillin.
The defendants allegedly furthered their marketing scheme by distributing Amoxilina in a two-toned box that closely resembled Amoxicillin's packaging. Both Amoxilina and Amoxocillin are sold in sky-blue and white boxes with red letters showing the products strength.
The Amoxilina label claims in both Spanish and English that it is a dietary supplement "without side effects and Naturally Combats Infections." On the back of the capsule membrane, Multimex printed s Spanish phrase that translates to "Quality Natural Antibiotics."
Spanish-speaking parents, in complaints to Abbott's office, said that they purchased Amoxilina for children suffering from throat or ear infections because they believed they were buying Amoxicillin.
Parents incorrectly believed, one doctor's affidavit said, that their children were receiving antibiotics. This misconception about Amoxilina could cause doctors to over-medicate the children or conduct unnecessary medical procedures.
Multimex and San Martin, under the court order obtained Thursday, are prohibited from continuing to unlawful market Amoxilina. The order also prevents the defendants from continuing to receive, advertise, offer for sale or sell Amoxilina in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Abbott's enforcement action also seeks civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the DTPA.
On Monday, following Abbott's action, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Multimex is recalling dietary supplements that may be labeled as antibiotic drugs.