The Dallas Morning News has a story about how a North Texas Olympic bronze medalist is suing H-E-B and a supplement manufacturer for deceptive marketing and trade practices.
Here's how the News frames the story:
"After winning the bronze medal for the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games, Jaqueline Galloway began the long and arduous process of training for her next competitions.
"But a bottle of supplements and a failed drug test sullied her reputation and dealt a swift kick to her taekwondo career, Galloway testified Monday in a Collin County courtroom. She sued H-E-B, which owns Central Market in Plano where she bought a bottle of magnesium, calcium and zinc multivitamins in February 2019. The trial began this week."
Galloway says that she "had taken the supplements for just over a week when she was given a random drug test. Her urine tested positive for ibutamoren, a substance on the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances, and she was banned from competition … Galloway’s lawsuit accuses H-E-B and Nexgen Pharma, which manufactured the vitamins, of deceptive marketing and trade practices.
"The bottle of multivitamins, she testified, mentioned nothing on the label about Nexgen being the manufacturer. Had the label mentioned Nexgen, Galloway said she would have done more research into the company before buying the vitamins.
"The label also said the supplements were guaranteed 'for potency and purity.' Galloway told jurors she took that to mean the product contained no other substances other than what was listed on the label … Galloway said she stood in the aisle before buying the bottle, comparing the listed ingredients to a list of banned substances. She found none. She had been taking the supplements every day. She still took the supplements after submitting a sample of her urine.
"But in late February, she received a letter notifying her that she failed the drug test, she testified. Galloway was immediately suspended from competition."
The News writes that "during their opening statements, lawyers for both H-E-B and Nexgen told the jury that they’re not accusing Galloway of knowingly taking the banned substances.
"Russell Schell, a lawyer for Nexgen, told the jury that other bottles of the supplement — including ones from the same lot Galloway bought — had been sent for testing, with no results for the banned substance.
"But when the exact bottle Galloway bought and opened was sent for testing, the banned substance was found, Schell told jurors in opening statements. The substance was found on the surface level of the multivitamins but not in an equal amount on each pill, Schell said. Lotz, the H-E-B attorney, told jurors that, out of the batch of 1 million pills that Galloway’s bottle came from, only four pills in Galloway’s opened bottle tested positive for the substance."
- KC's View:
I must admit that this story is pretty weird … the idea that someone else might have tampered with the supplement bottle seems both rooted in conspiracy-thinking and yet oddly viable.
One thing does occur to me. There have been so many cases of Olympics athletes inadvertently taking banned substances that you'd think the powers-that-be would publish a list of acceptable, sanctioned supplements and medications … with the advisory that if athletes go off the list, they're responsible if they fail drug tests. (It is possible that such a list exists, which you'd think would be defense exhibit one.)
I feel bad for Galloway; I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have your identity ripped away because of something over which you seemed to have no control.