Feds sue Wellness Support Network for false diabetes prevention claims

FTC logoAn online marketer of dietary supplements is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for making "baseless claims" that its products can treat and prevent diabetes.

The FTC has asked a federal judge to permanently bar Wellness Support Network Inc., of Glendale, Calif. and its two principals, Robert and Robyn Held, from making deceptive claims in violation of federal law. The commission is also attempting to make the defendants refund their customers or "give up their ill-gotten gains," court documents say.

The FTC's complaint challenges claims for two sets of dietary supplements Wellness Support markets to diabetics, primarily via its website, Realfoodnutrients.com.

The company's Diabetic Pack includes three different products that supposedly contain an array of vitamins, minerals, and plant extracts for the treatment of diabetes. The Insulin Resistance Pack contains the same three products as the Diabetic Pack, which the defendants claim reduces insulin resistance and helps to prevent diabetes. A 30-day supply of both the Diabetic Pack and Insulin Resistance Pack are sold online for $76.70.

Ads on the Wellness Support website describe both products as "Completely Natural!" and refer to them as a "Diabetes Breakthrough."

The defendants' advertising also relies heavily on consumer testimonials, such as this one, purportedly from Mike Corcoran in California:
"About 60 days ago when I started your program my blood sugar count was at 332 and my kidneys were in very poor condition. Just today I was given my results from my last physical and can report that my blood sugar count is 117 and my kidney funtion [sic] is just slightly elevated. By the way, I forgot to mention ... when I was first diagnosed, I weighed over 250 pounds. I now weigh 193 pounds. I can't thank you enough. You were there when things seemed bleak and answered my questions better than my doctor did. Now the sun shines every day and my doctor is shocked with my results!!"
The FTC also maintains that the following claims are false or unsupported by any scientific evidence:
  • Diabetic Pack is an effective treatment for diabetes, is proven as an effective treatment for diabetes, reduces or eliminates the need for insulin and other diabetic medications, and is proven to cause an average drop in blood glucose levels of 31.9%
  • Insulin Resistance Pack reverses and manages insulin resistance, is proven to be an effective treatment for insulin resistance, prevents diabetes, and is proven to cause an average drop in blood glucose levels of 31.9%.
The FTC filed its complaint, which it says is part of its ongoing efforts to halt bogus disease treatment claims, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on October 28, 2010.
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