Posted January 9, 2014

Marketers of "Genetically Customized" Supplements Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Health Claims

Two marketers of "genetically customized" nutritional supplements have agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that the companies made deceptive advertising claims and did not adequately protect customers' medical and financial information.

The FTC charged that GeneLink, Inc. and its former subsidiary, foru International Corp., made unsubstantiated health claims that its nutritional supplements and skin care cream could compensate for an individual's genetic disadvantages and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and insomnia. The supplements, including Core+ Nutrition capsules and The Perfect Shake nutrition drink, are customized for individuals based on results of a cheek-swab DNA test, according to foru's website.

The companies also failed to adequately secure their customers' personal information, including generic information, Social Security numbers, bank account and credit card information, according to the FTC.

As part of the proposed settlement, GeneLink, Inc. and foru have agreed not to make claims that a product can treat or prevent disease in people with a specific genetic variation without evidence from randomized clinical trials on individuals that have that genetic variation, and to refrain from claims that a product can treat diseases, unless supported by at least two adequate and well-controlled studies. The companies also agreed to establish and maintain comprehensive information and security programs to better protect customers' personal information.

The settlement proposal is subject to a 30-day period of public comment. Consumers and the general public can submit their comments online on separate pages for GeneLink Inc. and foru International, or in writing, to the address provided in the FTC's statement.

To read the FTC's complete statement, use the link below.