Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon has appointed a temporary receiver over HRC Medical Centers Inc. and ordered its owners to stop making alleged misleading claims regarding its treatment programs.
Until the issue is resolved at trial, the company is prohibited from making advertising claims about its alternative regimen of “bio-identical” hormone replacement therapy, according to a press release from the Tennessee Office of the Attorney General.
HRC Medical has operated clinics in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis.
The court order places HRC Medical, as well as owners Don Hale and Dan Hale, and all assets under control of a receiver, Nashville attorney John McLemore, who is required to ensure that it is operated in accordance with state and federal law.
The temporary injunction prohibits the company from making claims that its hormone replacement therapies are safe, involve no cancer risk, and have no or minimal side effects.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling,” Attorney General Bob Cooper said, “and urge any consumer who has taken HRC’s alternative regimen of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy to contact his or her health care provider about any potential adverse health effects from the therapy as soon as possible.”
The order also prevents the defendants from advertising to women unless the defendants clearly and conspicuously disclose that their therapy increases specific health risks and side effects, he said.
Among those potential risks, he said, are possible risk of developing endometrial cancer, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, disfigurement, hair loss, as well as permanent hair growth on one’s face, chest and buttocks.
State officials also allege the therapy can cause breast cancer, severe acne, menstrual problems in menopausal women and psychological changes, such as increased anger or aggressive behavior, and other adverse reactions.
The order prevents the defendants from advertising to men without clearly and conspicuously disclosing that the therapy can increases a consumer’s risk of developing prostate cancer and enlarged breasts, in addition to the other possible side effects woman may endure.
Among other findings, the court determined the state showed a likelihood of success on the merits of its lawsuit because the defendants intentionally misrepresented or omitted reference to the benefits, efficacy, or known side effects and risks of the treatments.
The company is also accused of intentionally misrepresenting unsubstantiated safety claims and assertions that HRC treatments could restores a user’s hormones levels to that of a younger person.
To date, Cooper said, the Attorney General’s Office has received a significant volume of calls, which led to the decision to take action against HRC Medical on behalf of the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs.
Anyone concerned about possible adverse effects that may be associated with any treatments received at HRC Medical should call the Attorney General’s Office at 615-741-1671.