FTC goes after diet pills


A trio of companies and pair of individuals are being hauled into court by the FTC for making allegedly unsubstantiated advertised claims about the weight reducing properties of two diet pills.

The pills are Relacore and Akävar 20/50, and the companies/individuals are Basic Research LLC, Carter-Reed LLC, Dennis W. Gay, and Mitchell Friedlander on the Relacor complaint; and Basic Research, Dynakor Pharmacal LLC, Gay, and Friedlander on the Akävar 20/50 complaint.

The FTC summarized the complaints, saying, “The defendants made claims such as ‘eat all you want and still lose weight’ and, ‘And we couldn’t say it in print if it wasn’t true!’ on product packaging, on the Internet, and in widely read magazines such as Redbook, Star, and Family Circle.”

Basic Research was ordered back in 2006 to cease advertising unsubstantiated weight loss claims, and paid $3M on behalf of six companies and three individuals, including the two in the current case. The current group is being charged with violating that order.

The case is being handled for FTC by the Department of Justice. United States Attorney Brett Tolman said, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes a dim view of unlawful claims in the marketplace, especially when they involve companies and individuals ordered by the FTC not to make the claims.”

“The government alleges that these defendants made claims that their product would allow you to ‘eat all you want and still lose weight’ without a reasonable basis,” added Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Claims like these are harmful to both the health and pocketbooks of those who use these supplements. Working with our partners at the Federal Trade Commission, we will continue to challenge unlawful advertising claims.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This case hinges on magazine, packaging and internet advertising, but all it takes is a verb change from “print” to “say” in one of the operative commercial phrases and it becomes relevant to broadcasters.