Federal Trade Commission Sues Texas Firm for Deceptive Advertising of Diet Aid
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday filed a lawsuit suit against Mark Nutritionals for deceptive advertising of a weight loss product that the company claims "burns away fat while you sleep," the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The FTC said the San Antonio, Texas-based company used radio disc jockeys at more than 650 stations in 110 cities across the country to sell its product, Body Solutions Evening Weight Loss Formula. In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Antonio, the FTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against Mark Nutritionals to "stop any deceptive [advertising] claims." In addition, the agency is seeking refunds for consumers who purchased the product, which the FTC said has "no scientific proof" to support its effectiveness in weight loss, the AP/Times reports. Texas and Illinois officials yesterday filed similar suits (Ho, AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/6). The Texas Attorney General's Office filed suit in Dallas against the company, its owners, an executive vice president and the director of its research department, the Houston Chronicle reports. The company yesterday said it has reached an agreement with the FTC about its marketing that details how the product will be sold "in the future," including restrictions on third-party endorsements, the Chronicle reports. Mark CEO Larry Cochran said of the agreement, "It is something I myself helped to draft. We feel it is very positive, a step in the right direction for everyone" (Antosh, Houston Chronicle, 12/6). Howard Beales, director of the FTC's consumer protection bureau, said the media should be more responsible for accepting advertising like the ones named in the suit. "We need help from responsible media outlets to keep these kinds of advertising from reaching the public," he said (AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.