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Posted January 16, 2018

Marketers of CellAssure and Cognify Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Cancer Claims

On January 11, 2018, the FTC announced that CellMark Biopharma, LLC and its CEO, Derek E. Vest have agreed to settle charges that it made false claims about its products, CellAssure and Cognify, which were marketed as treatments for the effects of cancer and chemotherapy such as weight loss, malnutrition, and cognitive dysfunction. 

CellAssure is a nutritional drink which was marketed to treat cancer-related malnutrition. It was described as having "anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties," and promoted with statements such as "specifically addresses the malnutrition suffered by over 80% of all cancer patients." A one-month supply cost $248. 

(See's Review of Protein Powders, Shakes, and Drinks for tests of related products.)

Cognify was promoted to treat "chemo fog," or cognitive dysfunction related to cancer treatment. It was advertised through a YouTube video featuring a breast cancer patient who claimed that Cognify helped her "remember the names of places and people and things" and to "think more clearly." It cost $79 for a one-month supply. 

(See's answer to the question Do any supplements really help with brain function, like memory and cognition? >>)

According to the FTC's complaint, CellMark's claims about the products were not supported by adequate scientific evidence. (The company also received an advisory letter from the FDA in 2017 noting that statements made about CellAssure were drug claims.) The settlement prohibits CellMark from engaging in similar conduct in the future. The settlement also requires CellMark to have "competent and reliable scientific evidence to support health claims for any product" and bars them from "misrepresenting the results of any study, test, or scientific research" in the future. 

See Related Warnings:

Health Research Labs Agrees to Settle FTC Charges of False Claims, Deceptive Marketing of BioTherapex and NeuroPlus

Marketers of Weight Loss System Agree to Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Claims

Seller of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Settles FTC Charges of False Advertising

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

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