After a referral from the National Advertising Division, the Federal Trade Commission took action against two marketers of dietary supplements claiming to prevent—or reverse—gray hair with products containing the enzyme catalase.
Claims for GetAwayGrey included: “Watch your grey go away! Now, grey hair can be stopped and reversed. We stop grey hair by using a vitamin that includes the Catalase enzyme. Just two vitamin pills a day can bring back your natural hair color,” while codefendant Rise-N-Shine touted its Go Away Gray with statements such as “All Natural Hair Color Restoration For ALL Hair Types. Helps PREVENT & REVERSE Gray Hair. PROMOTES Thick, Healthy Hair.”
In addition to the dietary supplement, Rise-N-Shine also offered a shampoo and hair conditioner containing catalase (ranging from $29.95 to $69.99 per bottle).
But according to the FTC’s complaints, both companies (and their principals) violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act because all of the claims were false and unsubstantiated.
In proposed consent orders, the defendants are prohibited from representing that a covered product (defined as “any dietary supplement, food, drug, or cosmetic”) either reverses or prevents the formation of gray hair. Also banned are claims about the health benefits, performance, or efficacy of covered products (unless the claim is non-misleading and the defendants have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate it). The defendants must also retain records of human clinical testing that they submit as competent and reliable scientific evidence.
An almost $4 million judgment against the companies and their principals will be suspended pending compliance with the proposed order.
Litigation continues against a third company, COORGA Nutraceuticals and its principal over the marketing of a product line called “Grey Defence.”
To read the complaint and proposed consent order in FTC v. GetAwayGrey, click here.
To read the complaint and proposed consent order in FTC v. Rise-N-Shine, click here.
To read the complaint in FTC v. COORGA Nutraceuticals, click here.
Why It Matters: “These companies claimed their supplements could treat gray hair at its roots,” Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement about the action. “In fact, their root problem was a lack of evidence for their claims.” In addition to reminding advertisers to base health claims on competent and reliable scientific evidence, the actions provide an example of what can happen when the NAD refers a case to the agency.