The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint in California federal court against Wellness Support Network, Inc., and two of its principals, alleging that the defendants made false claims that their dietary supplements can treat and prevent diabetes.
The closely held California corporation has marketed and sold its Diabetic Pack and Insulin Resistance Pack since 2004, claiming that the products can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, cause less dependency on medications by reducing insulin resistance, and improve the body’s use of glucose. The packs each contain three different products made of vitamins, minerals and plant extracts, and were sold for $76.70 for a 30-day supply, the FTC said.
The defendants claimed the products were a “Completely Natural! Diabetes Breakthrough!” and that “Nobel Prize-winning technology validates” the ingredients of the product packs.
Advertising primarily online, the defendants’ claims that scientific studies prove the product is an effective treatment for diabetes and that the product is clinically proven to cause an average drop in blood glucose levels of 31.9% are false and unsubstantiated, the FTC complaint alleged.
The agency is seeking a permanent injunction to bar the company from making deceptive claims, as well as refunds to consumers and disgorgement of profits. The defendants have faced regulatory scrutiny in the past – in December 2006, the Food and Drug Administration sent the company a warning letter. In the letter, the FDA stated that the company was violating the law by making therapeutic claims that the Diabetic Pack could cure or improve a user’s diabetes.
To read the FTC’s complaint, click here.
Why it matters: The makers of dietary supplements have been the focus of increasing regulatory action from the FTC and FDA, as well as recent legislation. In May, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Dietary Supplement Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2010, intended to ensure enforcement of and update the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. The bill would not create new restrictions or rules, but it would allocate more funds to the FDA for greater enforcement. The bill would also require the agency to make annual reports to Congress and publish guidance on dietary ingredients not included in the earlier law.