Undercover: Are doctors from HRC, Legacy Medical misleading women about therapy risks?

(WXYZ) - Older women have been looking to hormone replacement therapy for decades to feel better and fight the effects of menopause. But the FDA and most doctors will tell you that the therapy comes with risks, like a higher chance of cancer or stroke.

But as we showed you in our latest investigation, HRC Medical has been telling patients just the opposite.

In Tennessee, where HRC Medical is based, the Attorney General there slapped the company with a civil lawsuit, saying it's not telling clients the whole story about serious possible side effects of their treatments: things like heart disease, breast cancer and dementia.

"Nobody's done a test on the particular cocktail of hormones that they were inserting into people," said Jeff Hill, a senior lawyer for the Tennessee Attorney General's office.

That complaint has nearly crippled the company, so here in Michigan their clinics were recently sold to Legacy Medical, a different company providing the same kinds of therapy.  They're using some of the same doctors and staff, but 7 Action News wanted to see if they're making the same statements the FDA says are dangerous.

We sent an undercover producer inside its Wixom clinic.  Right off the bat, she was told that more traditional synthetic therapy was what she needed to worry about.  But Legacy's "bioidentical" natural therapy, said the saleswoman, would never cause cancer.

"It's all natural, it's all natural," she said.

"So there's no evidence that the natural causes (cancer?)," asked the Channel 7 producer.

"No. Synthetics do," responded the saleswoman.  

That sales pitch troubles the attorney general in Tennessee, whose lawsuit could ultimately shut HRC down.

"That's a serious statement that they made that we would have a big problem with," said Jeff Hill.   

Here in Michigan, doctors like Beaumont's Mark Dykowski are worried too.

"It's potentially giving patients false hope that what they're going to be doing is without risk…but nothing is without risk," he said.

"No medicine is without risk."

Since our investigation aired Monday night, we've received e-mails and comments from HRC clients here in Michigan, who believe their health ailments were caused by their recent therapy.

"I was made ill by...too much testosterone," wrote one HRC patient. "I can hardly make it out of bed," said another. And a third viewer fears his wife's recent diagnosis was a result of her HRC therapy.

"…my wife was told she has uterine cancer," he wrote.  He said the diagnosis came less than a year after receiving therapy from HRC.

"As a man," he wrote, "I feel that I should have protected my wife."

Legacy Medical did not return multiple messages seeking comment for this story. But its doctors have said that it does not believe the therapy it offers includes the risks the FDA warns about.

If you've had a problem with your treatment from HRC, the Michigan Attorney General wants to hear from you. You can file a complaint here.

You can also reach the 7 Action News Investigators at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

You can also contact the 7 Action News Investigators at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.  - See more at: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/selling-women-better-sex-life-with-hormone-replacement-did-company-put-profits-before-patients#sthash.4ZRRgluP.dpuf
You can also contact the 7 Action News Investigators at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.  - See more at: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/selling-women-better-sex-life-with-hormone-replacement-did-company-put-profits-before-patients#sthash.4ZRRgluP.dpuf
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