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O.C. Clinic Named in Fen-Phen Lawsuit

September 30, 1997|MARCIDA DODSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — A Mission Viejo weight-loss clinic, its doctor and makers of the diet regimen fen-phen have been named in a class-action lawsuit by a woman who alleges she has heart problems because of the drugs.

The suit is believed to be the first of its kind to be filed in Orange County over the effects of the once-popular diet drugs. Fenfluramine, one of the two drugs used in combination for weight loss, was pulled off the market by the U.S Food and Drug Administration earlier this month.

Sherryl McGillivary of Aliso Viejo, lead plaintiff in the suit, was a patient of Dr. Mary Ellen O'Reilly at the Weight Loss 2000 clinic and took the drugs for about a year, attorney Dan Hodes of Newport Beach said. McGillivary recently has been found to suffer pulmonary hypertension and valvular heart disease and might require a heart-lung transplant, Hodes said.

O'Reilly could not be reached for comment.

Other defendants in the case are Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, parent company American Home Products Corp., Intraneuron Pharmaceuticals, Smithkline Beecham Corp., and Seatrace Pharmaceuticals Inc.

In July, a class-action lawsuit was filed in San Francisco against several diet drug manufacturers on behalf of people who had taken fen-phen.

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