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Posted March 6, 2009

"The Truth About Nutrition" Marketers Agree to Pay $3 Million to Settle Charges of Deceptive Advertising of Dietary Supplements and Devices

On March 6, 2008, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that marketers of dietary supplements and health-related devices have agreed to pay $3 million in consumer redress to settle FTC charges that they deceptively claimed their products treated or prevented a wide variety of serious diseases and medical conditions.

The challenged products included an infrared sauna sold to treat cancer; and a variety of nutritional supplements sold to treat, reduce the risk of, or prevent various health conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, strokes and heart attacks, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, ulcers, herpes, asthma, and glaucoma. The marketers sold their products on their Web site and in print materials, but their main advertising vehicle was a nationally broadcast, live, hour-long, call-in radio program titled “The Truth About Nutrition.”

The FTC’s complaint charges one company, Roex, Inc., and two individuals, Rodney H. Burreson and Mark Alexander, with making false or unsubstantiated advertising claims. The complaint also charges that the defendants falsely claimed that one product, Colostrum, was scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for AIDS.

Under the agreed-upon final order, the defendants are barred from making any of the claims the FTC challenged in this suit unless they are true, non-misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence. The defendants also are barred from making efficacy or safety claims about any drug, food, dietary supplement, or device unless the claims are true, non-misleading, and substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Finally, the defendants are barred from misrepresenting the results of any test or study while advertising or selling any covered product or service. The order also contains various record keeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants’ compliance. Roex, Inc. is based in Irvine, California; Burreson is the President and CEO and Alexander is the Director of Consumer Education and its Director of Research and Development.