Diet Pill Maker will Pay $1 Million to Settle FTC False Advertising Complaint

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December 11, 2014

Companies marketing homeopathic diet pills will pay $1 million to settle charges filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

According to the FTC complaint, HCG Platinum and Right Way Nutrition used false and deceptive advertising to market a weight loss supplement that the companies claimed would cause rapid and substantial weight loss.

HCG Diet Direct settled similar charges earlier this year.

The companies' products used human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced by the human placenta that is falsely promoted for weight loss. Users were told to place the drops under their tongues before meals and stick to a 500-calorie diet in order to lose between 40 and 50 pounds. The companies, however, had no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

In 2011, the FTC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent letters to seven marketers of HCG supplements, warning the companies that their products were mislabeled and required competent and reliable testing.

Supplements were sold at GNC, Rite Aid, Walgreens and online for between $60 and $85 for a 30-day supply. Matching the profits the companies made from the sale of the supplements, the settlement order imposed a $10 million judgment. That judgment has been suspended and defendants are only required to pay $1 million.

Defendants are also prohibited from making false claims about their products and marketing their effectiveness without any scientific proof.