In its first public comments on a federal court ruling that it used false advertising to promote a urine drug screen, Ameritox said the decision would have no impact on its products or services and that it would continue to offer its Rx Guardian CD drug test.
Millennium Laboratories filed a lawsuit against Ameritox claiming the Baltimore-based company falsely advertised that the Rx Guardian test could determine whether a patient was taking the prescribed dosage of a drug. Judge Benson Everett Legg agreed, ruling that “any claim that a urine drug test can determine the timing or quantity of the drug taken by the patient would be literally false.”
A federal jury unanimously supported the judge’s ruling. While no financial damages were awarded to Millennium, the judge found that the San Diego-based company “suffered irreparable injury” and that monetary damages would be “inadequate compensation.”
“Millennium Laboratories sought millions in damages from the court and was awarded nothing,” said Ancelmo Lopes, Chief Executive Officer of Ameritox. “It speaks volumes that the court excluded Millennium’s claims for money damages.”
Lopes pointed out the court ruling involved only four advertisements used to promote Rx Guardian and Rx Guardian CD. It also didn’t question the science behind the tests.
“Millennium went hunting for a lion, bagged a millipede, and then bragged about it,” said Lopes, who maintains that a Millennium press release about the case was misleading and did not accurately reflect the court’s decision.
Drug Labs Litigation
“With the amount of money both these laboratories are spending on litigation, it is obvious that urine drug testing is very lucrative for them. It’s too bad that some of this money couldn’t be spent on finding innovative ways to treat pain,” a source with broad experience in the drug testing industry told American News Report.
“I think it’s important for pain practitioners to understand what their urine drug testing methods are capable of doing and not doing,” the source added. “The consent order very clearly states that ‘urine drug testing cannot determine the timing or quantity of a drug taken by the patient.’ Every patient metabolizes medications differently and many patients take other medications that can affect how they metabolize their pain medications.”
Judge Legg’s consent order states “Ameritox made literally false descriptions of facts” and the “misrepresentations actually deceive or have the tendency to deceive a substantial segment of their audience.”
(Editor’s note: A pdf file of the consent order can be found here.)
The judge ordered Lopes to send a letter to all Ameritox customers within 30 days explaining the court’s decision and admitting that false advertising was used to promote Rx Guardian and Rx Guardian CD. He also ordered that the letter be posted on Ameritox’s website.
“Ameritox’s benefit to physicians remains unchanged. The court’s decision had no impact on the quality of our science and the value of our products,” said Harry Leider, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Ameritox.
The ruling was the latest chapter in a long running feud between Millennium and Ameritox – as they battle for their share of the multi-billion dollar drug test industry. As previously reported in American News Report, the drug screening industry is growing rapidly and is plagued by soaring costs, fraud, and kickback schemes. In 2010, Ameritox agreed to pay $16.3 million in fines to the federal government to settle claims that it gave illegal kickbacks to doctors.