Clinic StemGenex & doc face $3.6 million class action settlement

The site Top Class Actions reports that StemGenex, a former stem cell clinic in LaJolla, CA will have to pay out big in a settlement for a class-action lawsuit alleging fraud.

Stemgenex in La Jolla, CA at one time.

Who gets what in StemGenex lawsuit settlement?

In the piece, StemGenex, Lead Doctor to Pay $3.65M for Fraudulent Stem Cell Therapy Scheme, we learn that over 1,000 members of the suit will receive some kind of payout.

The four main class representatives will get $15,000. Here’s the key quote:

“StemGenex, which filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2019, will pay $1.15 million through its insurer Admiral Insurance Company. Andre P. Lallande, a doctor of osteopathic medicine who the class action lawsuit says was “wholly or partially responsible for the content of [StemGenex’s] advertising,” will shell out $2.5 million.”

The law firm representing the patients will get a major portion of the settlement. You can also read the settlement against StemGenex.

It’s notable that the insurer of StemGenex is paying more than a million dollars. I’ve often wondered more generally how certain types of adipose or perinatal stem cell clinics can maintain malpractice or other insurance. This kind of settlement seems like it would make it tougher.

Background on this clinic

For a time, StemGenex was a regular topic here on The Niche.

The clinic claimed to treat a number of conditions with adipose stem cells, which to me as a stem cell biologist seemed questionable at best. What seems to have got them into this lawsuit were claims on their website of almost perfect customer satisfaction.

At one point the clinic also received an FDA warning letter.

Note that fat “stem cells” are a drug that requires premarket approval from the FDA. In other words, you have to work with the FDA prior to selling it. I put stem cells in quotes because the most common preps of this kind are mixtures of as many as a dozen or more cell types and stem cells are often in the minority.

In 2019 it seemed some former employees might have started a new entity called Advanced Cell Medicine. I wasn’t able to find that company today though on a quick search.

Clinic lawsuits pile up more generally

The new settlement is an outcome of a broader trend of patients suing unproven stem cell clinics in the fat and birth-related space. The number of such lawsuits, including those involving Liveyon and some clinics in Florida and other states probably numbers in the low dozens now.

Sometimes the doctors at certain clinics are also suing each other for various reasons.

The FDA has sued clinics as well seeking permanent injunctions.

With there now being more than 2,000 stem cell clinics in just the U.S. alone we can expect even more suits involving clinics in the future. However, it’s hard to even keep track of all the suits anymore.

This is made more challenging by some of the settlements involving confidentially agreements and the difficulty in tracking down cases in the different court systems around the country. Not everything seems to be findable in the national Pacer court search system, especially if you don’t know who is suing whom.

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