As part of its ongoing efforts to stop bogus health claims, the Federal Trade Commission is requiring a major marketer of dietary supplements to pay $5.5 million to settle charges that it falsely advertised that its supplements could help consumers lose weight and treat or prevent colds and other illnesses.
The $5.5 million will be used for refunds to consumers who purchased Accelis, nanoSLIM, and any Cold MD, Germ MD, and Allergy MD product. These supplements were sold over the Internet and were widely available at retail stores. In addition, the settlement requires the marketer to stop making deceptive health claims about the products.
The FTC charged Iovate Health Sciences U.S.A. and two affiliated Canadian companies with deceptively advertising their supplements using television ads, Internet websites, and print ads in national magazines.
The settlement bars the Iovate companies from:
claiming that any drug or dietary supplement they advertise or sell is effective for diagnosing, curing, mitigating, treating, or preventing any disease unless the claim is approved by the Food and Drug Administration;
claiming that Allergy MD Rapid-Tabs is homeopathic unless the claim is truthful, and unless the product is recognized under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as homeopathic;
representing that their products cause weight loss or rapid weight loss unless the claims are truthful and backed by at least two adequate and well-controlled human clinical studies;
claiming that their products provide any other health-related benefit unless the claim is supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence; and
misrepresenting the results of any test or study.
See the full FTC press release and District Court papers at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/07/iovate.shtm.