Class-Action Lawsuit Against Liposuction Alternative Claims Product Has “Opposite Effect”

A putative class action lawsuit was brought against pharmaceutical company Abbvie, Inc. by four individuals over claims that the use of one of their fat-reducing products causes a medical condition known as Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia (PH) in certain cases. The plaintiffs filed the class action complaint against the company on Friday and are seeking a jury trial.

AbbVie, and its subsidiaries Allergan, Inc. and Zeltiq Aesthetics, Inc., are well-known for making a product they have coined the CoolSculpting System, the complaint said. CoolSculpting is described as a “popular non-invasive fat reducing medical device.” AbbVie allegedly claimed that the product has certain advantages, including being a non-surgical alternative to liposuction and reducing fat layer thickness by up to 25% after one session.

The plaintiffs alleged that CoolSculpting “has the ability to cause permanent deformities to a person’s body.” They claimed that since 2011, AbbVie has known that using the CoolSculpting device has the potential to cause PH. According to the plaintiffs, PH can be a permanent condition which “results in the opposite effect of the medical device’s advertised purpose.”

The permanent damage prompted by CoolSculpting is not something that can be resolved easily. Rather, an individual must have surgery to fix the damage, which is contradictory to the goal of the product in the first place. Because of this, the plaintiffs asserted that the defendant created an environment that “deprived consumers of being properly informed about PH risk,” and that the defendants also withheld important information from their clients and downplayed the situation by claiming that if a patient developed PH they would cover the claim with their “liposuction program.”

The plaintiffs argued that AbbVie purposefully downplayed the severity of the side effects of CoolSculpting for their personal and monetary gain. From the court, the plaintiffs seek class certification, an order for compensatory damages, restitution, the establishment of a medical monitoring program, and a change in labeling.The plaintiffs are represented by Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman.