Four major weight-loss marketers have been ordered by the Federal Trade Commission to pay millions of dollars in civil penalties for promoting false claims of weight loss and in some cases, reducing the risk of cancer.
The settlement comes after an investigation and studies show many of the lofty claims made by the marketers don’t hold their weight when it comes to scientific proof.
The ads promise weight loss in a bottle-claims the federal trade commission calls deceptive because they are not supported by scientific research. “Unsubstantiated weight loss claims rake in millions of dollars for the promoters, but they are costing consumers dearly,” said FTC Commissioner Deborah Platt Majoras.
Majoras announced the agency fined the marketers of Xenadrine, EFX, Cortislim, One-A-Day Weight Smart and Trim Spa a total of $25 million for making what it calls false claims of rapid weight loss and health benefits.
The money and assets collected as part of the settlement will be used to reimburse customers who bought the products based on the claims.
The products will stay on store shelves — a move that has some nutritionists worried.
“I think we need more oversight of these products, we need proof that they are safe, proof they are effective before they can be marketed as such,” said weight control specialist, Dr. Louis Arrone.
But the way the products are marketed will change.
Endorsements by celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith and golfer John Daly are still fair game, as long as what the spokesperson says can be backed up. But the FTC has a warning for consumers.
“Testimonials from individuals are not a substitute for science, and that is what Americans need to understand,” said Majoras. Instead, the FTC said exercising and a change in eating habits is the best way to melt away those unwanted pounds.
Image Source: Dennis Cook/AP
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