Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Amanda McClendon granted the State's request to freeze Dixie and Bonnie Hale's personal assets and to place them under the control of a third-party receiver. Dixie and Bonnie Hale are the wives of former HRC Medical owners Don and Dan Hale whose assets were also frozen and placed in receivership under an order entered on May 29, 2013. Pursuant to the State's request, the HRC Medical company was put in receivership by an order dated December 27, 2012.
The court's ruling follows recent settlements the State reached with Midwest Restorative Health, LLC, BioLifeCycle Medical Centers, LLC, and Michael Montemurro doing business as MadMac Consulting, LLC. Under the agreements, the settling parties have agreed to never offer hormone replacement therapy in Tennessee and to collectively pay over $245,000 into the receivership estate. Pursuant to the settlement with Midwest Restorative, HRC Medical's former Memphis clinic has been shut down. Midwest Restorative had been operating HRC Medical's former Memphis clinic since last fall, BioLifeCycle took over HRC Medical's wholly owned clinics in December, 2012.
The State originally filed its original lawsuit against HRC Medical Centers, Inc., HRC Management Midwest, LLC, Don Hale and Dan Hale on Oct. 8, 2012. Among other things, the State alleged that HRC Medical and its owners, Don Hale and Dan Hale, made deceptive advertising claims concerning the alternative regimens of "bio-identical" hormone replacement (BHRT) therapy they offered, claiming the therapy was completely safe and had no cancer risk. Given safety concerns, traditional hormone replacement therapy is recommended for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration at the lowest possible dose for the shortest period of time. Alternative regimens of BHRT, by contrast, are often sold for long-term or perpetual use and/or with additional hormone components like testosterone that the State asserts alters the therapy's safety or risk profile.
"We are pleased with the court's rulings," Attorney General Bob Cooper said. "We urge consumers to consult with their primary healthcare providers first if they are taking, have taken, or are considering hormone treatment therapies of this kind."
The State has filed numerous affidavits from consumers who purchased bio-identical hormone replacement therapy from HRC Medical and were not advised of possible risks and side effects, which the State asserts include endometrial cancer, breast cancer, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, possible long-term or permanent disfigurement, head hair loss, permanent hair growth on one's face, chest, and buttocks, severe acne, causing a woman's voice to temporarily or permanently deepen, menstrual problems in menopausal women and psychological changes such as increased anger or aggressive behavior, and other adverse reactions.
The matter has not been adjudicated at trial and the Defendants have not admitted wrongdoing.
Gary Cordell, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, asks anyone who has a problem with any business, including an alternative regimen BHRT provider, to report it to his office by filing a complaint online www.tn.gov/consumer/ or by calling the Division at (800) 342-8385 (toll-free in Tennessee) or (615) 741-4737.