MLM moves to quickly expunge disease claims after advertising challenge

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - serggn
©Getty Images - serggn

Related tags disease claims Dietary supplement industry Dietary supplement companies Multi-level marketing

A multi-level marketing firm that sells dietary supplements responded quickly to remove non compliant disease claims when challenged by an industry watchdog group.

The case was made public last week by the Direct Selling Self Regulatory Council. The DSRCC is a division of BBB National Programs.

DSRCC recommended that an Argyle, TX-based MLM called Zilis immediately remove claims from social media pages maintained by its independent distributors. The claims included:

  • “Lost weight; Reduce Cravings; Boost your immune system…helps with situational stress”
  • “fibromyalgia; menstrual; arthritis; diabetes; chronic pain; nausea; depression; anxiety; autism; epilepsy; OCD; Alzheimer’s”
  • “Every day I see at least one post in my news feed about someone dealing with anxiety. Zilis CBD has helped me so much in my daily life with stress and bad, dreary moods.” 

Claims must be supported with competent, reliable evidence

The DSRCC decision noted that FTC case law has ruled that any health claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.  That is defined as "tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.” 

According the DSRCC statement, Zilis provided no such evidence. To its credit, the decision noted that the company moved quickly to remove the offending statements. 

Premium pricing

Zilis sells a variety of hemp products, personal care items and dietary supplements, which appear to be priced in the premium category.  For example, a Vitamin C product, which supplies a megadose of ascorbic acid, retails for $50 for a monthly supply.  Equivalent 1,000 mg Vitamin C products can be purchased online for less than $20 for a bottle containing 250 servings.

In another pricing example, Zilis sells a biotin/collagen supplement aimed at healthy skin for $80 for a monthly supply.  A roughly equivalent product  from a brand name manufacturer can be purchased online for about $14 for a two month supply.

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