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Posted July 01, 2003

Direct Marketers of Weight Loss, Impotence, and Arthritis Supplements Charged with Deceptive Claims

On July 1, 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced three enforcement actions against direct marketers of weight-loss products containing ephedra. The two settlements and one complaint, filed in U.S. district court, target deceptive efficacy, safety, and “no side effects” claims for weight loss supplements containing ephedra (also known as Ma Huang). The FTC actions challenge false advertising claims that the ephedra supplements cause rapid, substantial, and permanent weight-loss without diet or exercise, and that “clinical studies” or “medical research” prove these claims. The FTC also challenges claims that the ephedra weight-loss products are “100% safe,” “perfectly safe,” or have “no side effects.”

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