The Illinois Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Nu U Medical Spas in the Chicago area. The issues presented are remarkably similar to many medical spas owned by non-physicians. This case should be a warning to many in the industry.
The suit alleges that Nu U utilized deceptive marketing and that it is performing unsupervised medical treatments. One of the concerns was over the spas’ use of Lipodissolve to “melt” fat. There are many issues with the use of Lipodissolve but the lawsuit focuses upon the fact that it is not FDA cleared and many organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology, The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Society for Plastic Surgery do not condone use of the product. There is little evidence to support its use and a lot of evidence that it does little, if anything.
However, the main issue that I want to discuss is one that affects many medical spas, especially the non-physician owned ones. Lipodissolve is an injected treatment, it requires a physician’s order, but Nu U allegedly administers the fat-reducing treatment without a doctor’s order. Many non-physician owned medical spas have non-medical personal injecting dermal fillers such as Botox Cosmetic, Restylane, Juvederm and Collagen without a doctor’s order. In fact, more often than not a doctor does not even see the patient prior to the procedure. In The Nu U matter, the Attorney General found that fact despite its outward claims, Nu U allegedly “fails altogether to monitor and evaluate patients by licensed physicians.”
Another interesting aspect of the case is something that I routinely blog about: The corporate practice of medicine. The Illinois Attorney General argues that the Nu U Medical Spas have violated the Illinois Corporate Practice of Medicine Statute. Forty-five of the fifty states have such statutes and they are violated openly and routinely. These are serious statutes with severe criminal and civil penalties and I am at a loss to figure out why so many violate these statutes on a daily basis. Oops, I do know why…it is called profit!!