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  FTC Fines Diet Supplement Makers

by Jack A. Medina, M.A.

Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.

February 14, 2007

 
  The following is an excerpt from an article published by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regarding a recent ruling against diet supplement makers and false claims for their products. It supports what we keep telling people about false and misleading claims by advertisers and the need for good scientific published research to support claims being made.  
 
Jack Medina
Four Companies Get Heavy Fines

Now that you're well one your way to fulfilling those New Year's resolutions to shed some pounds, the government says don't count on a diet pill to help. Last month the Federal Trade Commission fined the marketers of four weight-loss drugs a collective $25 million for false advertising claims. Despite that, the pills - Xenadrine EFX, CortiSlim, One-A-Day WeightSmart and TrimSpa - will remain on the store shelves.

 
 
Diet Pills
Refuting the Claims

"It is resolution time again, isn't it?" said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. "We're implementing our resolution to fight back against companies that use deceptive advertising claims." Some of the products marketed their claims through infomercials or celebrity endorsements. The late Anna Nicole Smith, for example, endorsed TrimSpa. "Testimonials from individuals are not a substitute for science," Majoras said. "And that's what Americans need to understand."

The FTC investigated a variety of claims, including rapid weight loss and reduction in the risk of osteoporosis, Alzheimer's and even cancer, Majoras noted. A fine of at least $8 million was levied against the marketer of Xenadrine EFX, made by New Jersey-based Nutraquest, Inc., formerly known as Cytodyne Technologies. The marketer was identified as RTC Research & Development, LLC, based in Manasquan, N.J. Majoras said Xenadrine EFX had a study showing that people who took a placebo lost more weight than those taking the pill.

The FTC's investigation also found that consumer endorsers lost weight by engaging in rigorous diet and exercise programs. A $12 million fine was assessed against Window Rock Health Laboratories, based in Brea, Calif, the marketers of CortiSlim. Majoras said CortiSlim falsely promised that all users would see permanent and fast weight loss and that its TV infomercials were "deceptively formatted" to appear as talk shows rather than ads.

The Bayer Corp., based in Morristown, N.J. will pay a $3.2 million civil penalty to settle the claims. The FTC said Bayer marketed One-A-Day WeighSmart with unsubstantiated claims including that it increases metabolism. Bayer violated an earlier FTC order requiring all health claims for its One-A-Day brand vitamins be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

The marketers of TrimSpa, Goen Technologies Corp., will pay $1.5 million. Both Goen and TrimSpa are based in Whippany, N.J. The FTC said Goen had inadequate scientific evidence to support claims that TrimSpa causes rapid and substantial weight loss.

 
 
Drug Companies
Company Reponses

Marketers of Xenadrine EFX and CortiSlim did not return telephone calls for comment. Bayer disagreed with the FTC's description of the company as a marketer of a weight-loss pill. "It's a multivitamin," said Tricia McKernan, spokeswoman for Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division. "We don't market ourselves as a weight-loss product." Rather than go through the expense of litigation, Bayer decided the way to "close this issue" was to settle, McKernan said.

Some of the fines could be returned to consumers who purchased Xenadrine EFX and CortiSlim. The marketers of the other two drugs paid civil penalties. Consumers who purchased Xenadrine EFX and CortiSlim from the marketers will be contacted by the FTC about getting their money back. People who bought the pills over the counter will have to wait for the agency to put up a public notice on its website telling them how to recoup money.

Check Out PowerPack for the Winning Edge with 21 New Topics Including "Seven Keys to Choosing the Right Supplements"--Click Here

 
 
Research Lab
Check Out the Research!

The bottom line when looking at any supplement or product recommended by someone is to check out the research behind it. Most of the time there is no research. Some of the time there is internal company research. But very rarely is there good scientific-based research.

How do you know the difference? Good scientific-based research is done with the scientific method. This means it is randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, independent, and ideally on human subjects. A crossover study where subjects later get the opposite treatment, further strengthens the findings of the study. It must then be published in a peer-reviewed journal and duplicatable by other scientists.

 
  When it comes to nutritional supplements, our top pick is Juice Plus+ because it meets these scientific criteria many times over. In fact, it is the most researched nutritional supplement available on the market today with 10 studies completed and 12 new studies in the works. Check it out!

"See" you next month for another edition...

Yours for Fitness and Health,


Jack A. Medina, M.A.

Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.

Designs for Fitness & Wellness

phone: 541-474-2454 or 1-866-204-8786 Toll Free Order Line
 
 


Author/speaker and an expert in Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at www.jackmedina.com. Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

This article contains copyrighted material. Copies of this article may be reprinted without permission of the author only when this bi-line is included with each copy. Jack can be reached at jack@jackmedina.com