The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged three ephedra marketers with misleading claims for efficacy and safety of their weight loss supplements, proceeding to litigation with one.
Arizona-based Health Laboratories of North America and USA Pharmacal Sales have been ordered to stop making false and deceptive advertising claims about their ephedra-based products and to include warnings about the health risks of ephedra in their marketing. They must also pay $370,000 in consumer redress.
Meanwhile California-based Michael S. Levey is being charged with violating the FTC Act in marketing dietary supplements purported to cause rapid and substantial weight loss without diet or exercise.
"In these cases, the marketers both overstated the benefits and understated the risks of using the products," said Howard Beales, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. "With these enforcement actions, we're putting the marketers of ephedra supplements on notice that the law demands substantiation for your advertising claims, and the FTC will do its best to make sure you have it."
The advertising regulator is also challenging weight-loss claims for several other non-ephedra dietary supplements and has pulled up makers of a supplement claiming to treat impotence in men and glucosamine and chondroitin remedy CartazyneDS to 'cure' arthritis.
The FTC previously brought four enforcement actions challenging deceptive safety and 'no side effects' claims for ephedra supplements marketed for body-building and energy, and as alternatives to street drugs like Ecstasy.