May 3, 2045
ROCKVILLE, MD–Celera Genomics Group, on behalf of Cosmetabolics, a joint venture formed by Celera and Bayer AG, today issued statements confirming that the company will recall model years 2044 and 2045 of its popular ProPhage gene. “Reports of an unusual number of so-called ‘rollover’ mishaps among our ProPhage customers prompted the recall action,” noted Celera press materials released at the time of the recall notice. “Though the vast majority of our ProPhage customers are not at risk, we take the safety of our customers very seriously and are recalling specified models pending further safety testing.”
ProPhage is among the most popular of the over-the-counter “diet gene” therapies and is available in 52 countries around the world. Using a combination of viral and non-viral mechanisms, ProPhage adjusts the body’s metabolic processes in order to decrease fat storage and promote cosmetically targeted muscle growth.
An increasing number of ProPhage users have reported “rollover” accidents popularly attributed to the impact of ProPhage on the body’s center of gravity. Some users of the 2044 and ’45 models complain of a “top-weighting” or “lopsided” distribution of muscle tissue, resulting in a tendency to fall, or tip over, while cornering during running, jogging, trotting, and aerobic fast-walking.
“I had heard that my balance might be affected by [ProPhage],” reports Hank Kiln, a user of the 2044 model, “but what really happened was that my shoulders and neck got all built out, and I lost weight in my hips and thighs, my problem areas. My love handles too. But I kept losing my balance. I would be out at the track, doing my laps, coming around the turn and, all of the sudden, WHAP! I’d tip over.”
“While we have heard the rumors, we have not, ourselves, received any real complaints,” notes Celera spokeswoman Indra Croope. “Every year our new model of ProPhage, by design, targets a different cosmetic objective. Every model year is also thoroughly tested. We are recalling ’44 and ’45 just to be safe.”
The recall is not the only recent public relations problem Celera has faced over ProPhage. A December class-action suit filed by former ProPhage users alleges that Celera engages in unethical credit and repossession practices. Among allegations in the suit were claims that Celera’s financing department provided inadequate notice of customer default, and that its repossession procedures violated customers’ privacy.
“How do you repo a gene?” demands Milton Mannman, the DC attorney who filed the suit. “I’ll tell you what they do. If you’re still getting the treatment, they slip you a ‘repo’ therapy in the place of what you think you’re getting. If you’re all set with the ProPhage genes, they send a sneaky repo guy to spike your food with a reversing treatment.”
“The suit was properly dismissed,” responds Celera’s Croope. “The Court recognized that genetic products like ProPhage require different standards. Most people can’t afford to pay for a ProPhage license in cash, so we offer financing arrangements just to make our therapies as widely attainable as possible. That’s an important public good. But, we can only do that if we have recourse when people don’t meet their obligations.”
The recall of ProPhage 2044 and ’45 provides authenticated users with a replacement treatment in the form of a limited re-issue of the popular 2039 model. Notices have been forwarded to all known customers. If you are a ProPhage user within the scope of the recall, contact your dispensing agent for further information.