FTC refunds more than $750,000 to consumers in disease claims case

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Copyright Getty Images
Copyright Getty Images
The Federal Trade Commission has started to refund more than $750,000 to consumers who were duped into buying supplements marketed with spurious disease claims.

The action marks another case in which one of the federal agencies that regulate the dietary supplement industry has cooperated with a state attorney general office to bring an action against a supplement firm.  It also markets another enforcement action related to the marketing of a nootropic product.

FTC announced Wednesday that it is sending 16,596 checks to consumers who bought two products: NeuroPlus and BioTherapex​, both of which were marketed by Health Research Laboratories.  The average refund in $44.34.

A complaint was filed against that company by FTC in cooperation with the State of Maine. 

The case was settled November of 2017​.

The complaint alleged that, primarily through direct mail marketing campaigns targeting consumers across the United States and Canada, the defendants advertised that BioTherapex, which they sold for $39.95 per bottle, could treat arthritis, relieve joint and back pain, and cause significant weight loss. The defendants advertised that NeuroPlus, which they sold for $39.99 per bottle, could protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, reverse memory loss, and improve memory and cognitive performance. The complaint alleged that these health and efficacy claims are false or unsubstantiated.

Consumers who bought NeuroPlus will receive a refund of all of the money that they spent on the product. Consumers who bought BioTherapex will receive a refund of almost 15 percent of the purchase price.

By funding the full refund amount, which was pegged at a maximum of $800,000, Health Research Laboratories and its principal, Kramer Duhon, avoided paying the balance of the $3.7 million fine that was levied in the case.

Duhon and his company had a history of problems with regulatory agencies.  In 2014, the company received a warning letter from FDA that listed 36 impermissible disease claims the company was making on its products. 

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