Posted February 25, 2017

Radio "Infomercials" for Cognitive and Joint Health Supplements Deceived Consumers, Says FTC

On February 22, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission and the Maine Office of the Attorney General announced a complaint the marketers of CogniPrin and FlexiPrin, charging that they made misleading claims about the supplements in radio infomercials deceptively formatted as talk shows. Charges against six of the nine marketers named in the complaint (including marketers from XXL Impressions LLC, dba Better Health Nutritionals) have been settled with court orders prohibiting them from making similar deceptive claims.

According to the complaint, the supplements were promoted by through 30-minute radio ads which were presented as educational talk shows featuring medical experts. However, defendants did not disclose that they received a percentage of the profit from sales of the supplements. They were also charged with providing endorsements without examining the products. In addition, the complaint states that one of the defendants is not an expert in neurology or brain science, as he claimed to be in the ads.

One 60-capsule bottle of CogniPrin costs between $32 to $65 and contains ingredients such as vitamin B12, alpha-lipoic acid, and huperzine A. Examples of deceptive claims noted by the FTC in the complaint include statements that the product could:

  • Reverse mental decline by 12 years
  • Improve memory by 44 percent
  • Improve memory in as little as three weeks and is clinically proven to improve memory
(See ConsumerLab.com's Reviews of B Vitamin Supplements, Alpha-Lipic Acid Supplements and Huperzine A Supplements for more information about these ingredients tests of related products).

One 60-capsule bottle of FlexiPrin costs approximately $32 to $65 and contains ingredients such as hops extract, Boswellia serrata extract, rooster comb extract containing hyaluronic acid and collagen, ginger extract and turmeric extract. Examples of deceptive claims noted by the FTC in the complaint include statements that the product: 

  • Reduces joint and back pain, inflammation, and stiffness in as little as two hours
  • Rebuilds damaged joints and cartilage
  • Has been clinically proven to reduce the need for medication in 80 percent of users and to reduce morning joint stiffness in all users.
(See ConsumerLab.com Reviews of Joint Health Supplements, Ginger Supplements and Turmeric/Curcumin Supplements for more information about these ingredients and tests of related products.)

The FTC also charged that companies selling the products, which offered free trials and "risk-free, money back guarantees" did not disclose to consumers all the rules required to receive refunds, such as returning empty bottles and paying shipping fees. Individuals who signed up for a free trial were also signed up to receive additional automatic shipments which were charged to their credit cards without their permission. 

In addition to barring the marketers from making deceptive claims, the settlements impose a $6.57 million judgment; however, this will be partially suspended based on the defendant's financial conditions. 

See Related Warnings:

FTC Charges Marketers of Prevagen With Making False Claims

Federal Court Orders Dietary Supplement Distributor to Stop Selling Its Products

Seller of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Settles FTC Charges of False Advertising

No Evidence Supplement Can Reverse or Prevent Gray Hair, Says FTC

Herbalife Agrees to Business Restructure and $200 Million Payment to Settle FTC Charges of Deception

Federal Court Shuts Down Seller of Supplement Promoted for Herpes

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