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Enforcement Update


In the area of dietary supplements alone, FTC has brought more than 100 cases in the last ten years, challenging effectiveness claims. 

FTC’s reach is much wider than dietary supplements. 

FTC has jurisdiction over the sale of ALL products and services sold in interstate commerce.

FTC is seeking more and more consumer redress or refunds, often in the millions of dollars.

FTC v. POM Wonderful LLC – September, 2010

    • FTC filed an administrative complaint charging the makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements with making false and unsubstantiated claims that the products will prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.Charges were filed against the company and its principals.

    • POM’s former head of scientific and regulatory affairs and expert endorser was also charged. He entered into a settlement with FTC which prohibits him from making any future misleading claims. He also agreed to cooperate with FTC and testify, if necessary, in FTC’s litigation against POM Wonderful.

    • FTC alleged that POM’s studies did not show effectiveness and were not conducted properly.The proposed order would not only prohibit future misleading claims, but POM would also have to comply with FDA regulations for making claims in the future and obtain FDA’s pre-approval for any claims that its products prevent or treat serious diseases.

    • The case against POM is scheduled for trial before an Administrative Law Judge.The Judge’s initial decision will be subject to review by the full Federal Trade Commission, either on its own motion or at the request of FTC staff or respondents.

    • Whether or not an appeal is taken, the FTC issues a Final Decision and Order. The Decision and Order cannot be appealed by FTC staff outside the agency, but respondents can appeal to the U.S. District Court of Appeals and subsequently to the U.S. Supreme Court. (FTC File No. 082-3122)

    FTC v. Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc. – August, 2010
    • FTC— without any prior notice to the company— filed a complaint in the Northern District of Illinois federal district court seeking a temporary injunction against allegedly false and misleading Internet advertising claims and other unfair business practices in the sale of “AcaiPure,” an Acai Berry weight loss supplement, and “Colopure,” a so-called “colon cleanser.”  

    • FTC sought to freeze all the companies’ assets (as well as the individual defendants’ assets), and appoint a Receiver to take over complete control of the company.

    • On Aug. 6, 2010, the district court judge granted all of FTC’s requests. 

    • The company’s premises were sealed, its employees were dismissed and all business was halted. (FTC v. Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc. (CCN), other affiliated companies and two individuals, FTC File No. 102 3028.)  

    • FTC will seek a permanent court order against the company, including a determination of how many millions of dollars the company must pay back to its consumers in the form of consumer redress.  

    lovate Health Sciences USA, Inc - July, 2010
    • In a case against lovate Health Sciences USA, Inc. and other companies, FTC challenged claims that supplements sold on TV, the Internet, magazines and in retail stores, cause weight loss and treat or prevent colds, flu, allergies and hay fever.   

    • Claims for “Accelis,” “nanoSLIM,” “Cold MD,” “Germ MD,” and “Allergy MD” were halted.  

    • The company was required to pay $5.5 million in consumer redress as part of a stipulated final FTC order. FTC will file its complaint and order in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. (FTC File No 072 3187)

    FTC v. Direct Mkting. Concepts - August, 2009
    • Federal district court ordered marketers of two dietary supplements, “Supreme Greens” and “Coral Calcium,” who claimed the products could cure or prevent various diseases, to pay nearly $70 million in consumer refunds for deceiving consumers about the products’ effectiveness and safety.  

    • The court also froze the assets of some of the defendants. (FTC v. Direct Mkting. Concepts, Civ. No. 04-CV-11136-GAO [D. Mass. Aug. 13, 2009]) 

    FTC v. Seasilver, USA, Inc. - March, 2004

    • In a case against SeaSilver, USA, Inc., et al., No. CV-S-03-0676-RLH-LRL, (D. Nev. final order Mar. 4, 2004), FTC alleged numerous claims of disease treatment and cure, as well as weight loss claims for the company’s liquid supplement were false and unsubstantiated.   

    • FTC obtained a court-ordered temporary restraining order, asset freeze, and appointment of a Receiver to run the business.  

    • At the same time, FDA alleged the product was misbranded and seized it.   

    • FTC reached a settlement with the company, its individual owners and two of its major distributors. The settlement required they pay a total of $4.5 million in consumer redress. 

    • FDA’s companion settlement required destruction of $5.3 million worth of the company’s misbranded supplements.  

    • SeaSilver went out of business in 2007.