Hormone therapy clinical chain HRC Medical Centers Inc., and three of its principals – Dan, Don and Dixie Hale – were ordered to pay $18 million for misleading customers about the safety of the hormones it injected into them, a Tennessee state judge ordered.
The company at one time had hormone therapy clinics in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, though it reportedly no longer has locations in Tennessee.
The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2012 by the state of Tennessee, accused HRC Medical and two of its principals, Dan and Don Hale, of withholding health risks associated with its bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and making claims that the treatments carried no adverse effects. Prosecutors argued that there were plenty of side effects uncovered about the company’s hormone therapies.
The company promoted the hormones estradiol, progesterone and testosterone treatments for women, and testosterone replacement therapy for men. Numerous studies have linked testosterone treatment to an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots, some of which can be fatal.
In 2015, a court ruled that HRC Medical had violated state consumer protection laws when it claimed the hormones caused no adverse effects but were completely safe and effective at restoring hormones to optimal levels.
An appellate court will review the Senior Judge Don Ash’s decision and, if it agrees, HRC Medical customers will get at least some of their money back from the $18 million judgment. However, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said that the company and its principals will probably pay less judging by their limited assets.