FTC: Firm Falsely Claimed Supplements Could Treat Autism

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A company that claimed its pricey dietary supplements could cure autism spectrum disorders must stop making the claims and faces a judgment of $3.68 million, the Federal Trade Commission said on Friday.

NourishLife and owner Mark Nottoli -- who sold the Speak softgels, capsules and liquids for at least five years online and through distributors for more than $70 per bottle -- agreed to settle allegations they misled parents by claiming the supplements effectively treated speech disorders, including those associated with autism.

The company and owner are expected to pay $200,000, the FTC said. The remainder of the judgment was suspended due to the inability to pay, the agency said.

"This company took advantage of parents' trust," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement that noted the supplements were also promoted at promoted to parents at autism conferences.

The FTC said the company failed to disclose that it controlled websites that featured endorsements of the products as well as supposedly unbiased research. Parents who endorsed the product, the agency said, were provided with free supplements.
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