When it comes to health supplements, we are used to seeing advertising by companies that promise their products will do everything from cure heart disease to provide effortless weight loss. Unfortunately, these promises are more often than not just lies.
While consumers should be vigilant to avoid being deceived by false advertising, in the end the manufacturers should still have to pay for their misleading claims. In more than one case, companies have had legal woes when found guilty of making health claims not supported by science. Here’s a look at some of the most ridiculous claims supplement companies have tried to get away with.
POMx pills, manufactured by POM Wonderful, is a once daily pill made from the same ingredients as POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice. The advertising for these pills once promised to prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction. The company was charged in 2010, however, for their false advertising. POM was found guilty of misconstruing the results of the scientific studies that had been conducted on POMx.
In 2008 Airborne was found guilty of false advertising over their dietary supplement and had to pay $30 million in a class-action settlement. The company had advertised that their product could not only prevent, but also treat colds and the flu. However, no research could be found that corroborated these claims.
Hoodia is a plant found in South Africa that is believed to control appetite. Because of this, many supplement companies began promoting it as an effective means of weight loss. Unfortunately, there were two problems with these claims. One, there's no clear scientific evidence that hoodia can actually help control appetite. However, more alarmingly, many of the products that companies claimed contained hoodia actually had little to none of the plant in them!
At the peak of its popularity, there were lawsuits against supplement companies in multiple states related to their misleading hoodia claims.
The Kellogg’s cereal once made a bogus claim that a bowl full of their chocolaty Cocoa Krispies would help support your immune system because it provided you with antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, and E. However, following an investigation into the claim, which was found to be false, the company had to agree to new advertising rules. They are no longer allowed to make health claims of any food unless the claims are scientifically researched and proven.
A supplement company found itself with a $150 million lawsuit after falsely advertising that its product, Procera AVH, was able to restore memory loss and improve overall brain function. Advertising in infomercials and mail ads, the company claimed that the pills were clinically proven to reverse up to 15 years of age-related memory loss. However, the health benefits of the supplement could not be scientifically proven. The company will now be monitored and all advertising for Procera AVH was required to stop.