Fascinating news about VSL#3

The inventer of VSL, Dr. De Simone successfully argued in court that VSL Pharmaceuticals had attempted to create a “knock-off” of De Simone’s product, even though they never had access to the proprietary formula. They continued to call this knock-off by its original brand name, “VSL#3 ® ”, a trademark owned by VSL Pharmaceuticals Inc., and continued to reference the extensive clinical research on the product proving the product was efficacious and safe, even though they never fully tested the copy product. During the trial, De Simone was able to prove that the defendants’ copy product was not the same as De Simone’s original invention and had never been tested in humans to ensure that it performs the same way as the original formula. De Simone is currently partnered with co-plaintiff ExeGi Pharma to sell the formulation under the brand name Visbiome®

https://www.apnews.com/e75b0af...4344913ac4ff65bf2fa1

Original Post

Too bad that corporate greed affects health care! We depend on truthful medical research. I am glad the deception was exposed.

Fingers crossed that people who obtained insurance coverage for VSL#3 DS will be able to get coverage for Visibiome Extra Strength, if they wish to switch. 

Thanks Bill!

Jan

The very favorable CareFirst Blue Cross policy is quite specific about VSL #3. I’m probably better off not rocking the boat, and just sticking with the copycat with the original name. Although the plaintiff was able to prove that the formulas aren’t identical, I think they are likely to be close enough.

The jury verdict proves my own GI's admittedly speculative theory that VSL#3 was "nothing but a really expensive placebo."  I would love to get my hands on a stash of the real stuff since the "really expensive placebo" never worked on me.  Probably because it was a fake "knock off".

 

Scott F posted:

The very favorable CareFirst Blue Cross policy is quite specific about VSL #3. I’m probably better off not rocking the boat, and just sticking with the copycat with the original name. Although the plaintiff was able to prove that the formulas aren’t identical, I think they are likely to be close enough.

Scott, you should be fine with VSL if it's working for you as it does for me.

However I found the Visbiome is $10 cheaper on Amazon!

I’m reading this thread about VSL #3 DS which I currently have in my refrigerator and use every day! Am I using the ‘knockoff’??!! I’m confused about which is the real deal in this article. I’m on my last packet and need to refill...should I be using the Visbiome brand via Exegi Pharma from now on?? For reference I’ve had a J-pouch since 2009 due to complete removal  of Colon having lived with UC for 30 years, and I currently am dealing with pouchitis. Cindy Greeley 

Cindy, the legal decision does seem to suggest that the product labeled “VSL” is the knockoff (or at least not the exact product that was tested in the clinical studies). It seems like one group owns the name, but someone else owns the originally tested formula.

The products use the same assortment of bacteria, and the differences that were proven to the court may be insignificant. Since my insurance company covers a product called “VSL” (and not Visbiome) I’ll be continuing to use the VSL-labeled product. If you’re paying full price anyway then it might be worth trying the Visbiome product, at least to compare.

Scott if the differences were “insignificant”, why were plaintiffs awarded $18 million in damages and why does the article linked say this:

“During the trial, De Simone was able to prove that the defendants’ copy product was not the same as De Simone’s original invention and had never been tested in humans to ensure that it performs the same way as the original formula. De Simone is currently partnered with co-plaintiff ExeGi Pharma to sell the formulation under the brand name Visbiome®.”

 Visbiome is the real deal and VSL#3 is the “knock off”. 

There should be a class action suit by consumers for fraud seeking damages and refunds against the VSL#3 defendants. You should want to be part of that lawsuit, instead of defending their actions. Like many others in the market they are preying upon sick people and their insurance companies by charging a lot of money for an untested and unproven product that they are not entitled to charge anything for.

 

CT, I’m not defending the folks using the name improperly. They were slapped with the monetary judgement because they earned a bundle by misrepresenting the studied VSL formula as 1) their property, and 2) the product they were selling. Whether the differences between the products are big or small isn’t material to the point, and I don’t think influenced the award. The differences may well be clinically insignificant (or perhaps not), and the liability would (and should) be the same in any case - the point in the case wasn’t that the knockoff didn’t work as well.

The reason to *hope* (not assert) that they may work about the same is that they have identical bacterial species, though I expect that there are differences in the strains. Such differences can be very important of course - only a few strains of E. Coli are lethal. The plaintiff might have a secret sauce that really is the key to efficacy, or his formula might only be “better” because of the extensive research behind it. Neither of us knows, and more importantly the folks selling the knockoff don’t know, and they pretended that they did.

A class action is an interesting idea, if they have any money left, but I think it might be hard to demonstrate clinical harm.

There are lots of fine probiotics which aren’t backed up by clinical research. The only thing fake about now-available VSL #3 is that it isn’t identical to the well-researched product called VSL #3. Viomixx looks to be a high-dose probiotic (equivalent to single-strength VSL #3 in dose), with a good mix of probiotic bacteria. It’s not fake in any way, as far as I can tell. It also hasn’t had that clinical research done, but at least they aren’t claiming that it has.

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