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Weight Loss Pill Ads Draw Costly Fine

Federal Trade Commission Says Marketers of Weight-Control Pills Made False Claims
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 4, 2007 -- The marketers of four weight-control pills will pay $25 million in false advertising claims alleged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC today announced that marketers of the four products -- Xenadrine EFX, CortiSlim, TrimSpa, and One-A-Day WeightSmart -- settled their cases and agreed to limit their future advertising claims.

"The common theme in these cases is the marketers made claims that their products contain new, breakthrough ingredients which are proven to cause weight lossweight loss or control weight. But the claims aren't supported by sound science," FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras told reporters in a teleconference.

"Paying for fad science and miracle ingredients is a good way to lose nothing but your cash," Majoras says.

"Our advice for anyone who wants to lose weight in 2007, and we think there are about 70 million of us out there, is focus on increasing your physical activity and on cutting your calories as part of a healthy diet," Majoras says.

"It's just that simple," she continues. "Keep your goals realistic -- but you're not going to find weight loss in a bottle of pills."

No Admission of Guilt

WebMD contacted the makers of the products involved in the settlements.

Bayer HealthCare, which markets the One-A-Day WeightSmart multivitamin, tells WebMD in an e-mail that Bayer "stands behind its One-A-Day WeightSmart multivitamin and fully believes that all claims made in the marketing of the product are well substantiated and supported."

Bayer says it agreed to the FTC settlement "without any admission of guilt or wrongdoing" and stresses that its One-A-Day WeightSmart vitamin isn't a weight loss product.

Bayer also states that it "strongly disagrees with the Federal Trade Commission's description of our company in this settlement announcement as a 'major marketer of weight-loss pills.' We believe this description is erroneous."

None of the other companies involved in the settlements responded to WebMD's request for comments by publishing time.

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