Metabolife is an American corporation which manufactures dietary supplements. Metabolife's best-selling product, an ephedra-based supplement called Metabolife 356, once generated over $1 billion in annual sales. However, Metabolife 356 and other ephedra-containing supplements were linked to thousands of serious adverse events, including deaths, culminating in a ban on ephedra-containing dietary supplements as unsafe by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004.
Metabolife founder Michael Ellis was indicted on 8 counts of making false statements to the FDA in an effort to obstruct regulation of ephedra. Metabolife was also investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice for income tax evasion; ultimately, the company pled guilty to filing fraudulent tax returns and was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $600,000. Metabolife owner William Bradley also pled guilty to evading millions of dollars in taxes and was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison and 2 years of probation.
In response to falling sales, and facing more than $1 billion in personal injury legal claims related to Metabolife 356, Metabolife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005. The company's furnishings and property, including a large collection of artwork, were liquidated in late 2006 to compensate creditors and settle outstanding personal-injury claims.
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- Metabolife will plead guilty, end tax probe, by David Washburn. Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on August 6 2005. Accessed April 11 2007.
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- Metabolife and Owner William Bradley Plead Guilty to Tax Charges. A press release from the United States Department of Justice, dated October 5 2005. Accessed April 11 2007.
- Breaking Stories: Case Closed, by Matt Potter. Published on SanDiegoReader.com on October 5 2006. Accessed April 11 2007.
- Ex-Metabolife Hopes to Settle Ephedra Claims, by Penni Crabtree. Reprinted from the San Diego Union-Tribune on June 2 2006. Accessed April 11 2007.
- Metabolife Continues Its Search for Buyer, by Mike Allen. Published in the San Diego Business Journal on October 17 2005. Accessed April 11 2007.
- Metabolife's Artwork Goes on the Block Today, by Diane Bell. Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on November 30 2006; accessed June 22 2007.