The Federal Trade Commission and New York State Attorney General recently charged the marketers of the dietary supplement Prevagen with making false and unsubstantiated claims that the product improves memory, provides cognitive benefits and is “clinically shown” to work.
As part of its extensive national advertising campaign, the marketers feature charts depicting dramatic improvement in memory for product users. The complaint alleges, in part, that the marketers relied upon a study that failed to substantiate that the product works better than a placebo on any measure of cognitive function.
According the complaint, the defendants enticed consumers to spend anywhere from $24 to $68 for bottles of 30 supplement pills by touting the product’s active ingredient – a protein derived from jellyfish – to improve memory and reduce memory problems associated with aging.
“The marketers of Prevagen preyed on the fears of older consumers experiencing age-related memory loss,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “But one critical thing these marketers forgot is that their claims need to be backed up by real scientific evidence.”
The agencies allege that the defendants’ marketing claims have violated the FTC Act and New York state laws.
“The marketing for Prevagen is a clear-cut fraud, from the label on the bottle to the ads airing across the country,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “It’s particularly unacceptable that this company has targeted vulnerable citizens like seniors in its advertising for a product that costs more than a week’s groceries, but provides none of the health benefits that it claims.”
A copy of the complaint can been seen, here.
Contact an FTC defense lawyer if you are the subject of a regulatory enforcement investigation or action, or if you are interested in implementing preventative compliance measures.
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