FTC Fines Drug Pill Makers $25 Million

The Federal Trade Commission yesterday fined the marketers of four weight loss pills $25 million for making false advertising claims ranging from rapid weight loss to reducing the risk of cancer.

Fines were levied against marketers of Xenadrine EFX, One-A-Day Weight Smart, CortiSlim and TrimSpa, but the products will remain on store shelves.

"What we challenge is the marketing of the claims," said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, at a news conference. "The marketers are required to back up the claims with the science and if they can't do that they can't make the claim. But we don't ban the products from the shelves."

Some of the products marketed their claims through infomercials or celebrity endorsements. Anna Nicole Smith, for example, has endorsed TrimSpa.

"Testimonials from individuals are not a substitute for science," Majoras said. "And that's what Americans need to understand."

Morristown, N.J.-based Bayer HealthCare, which markets One-A-Day Weight Smart, disputed the FTC's claim in a statement to the AP.

"It's a multivitamin," said Tricia McKernan, spokeswoman for Bayer HealthCare's Consumer Care Division. "We don't market ourselves as a weight-loss product." Rather than go through the expense of litigation, Bayer decided the way to "close this issue" was to settle, McKernan said.



Next story loading loading..