FTC Charges HCG Marketer with Deceptive Advertising

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FTC Charges HCG Marketer with Deceptive Advertising

Published: Friday, November 1, 2013

Editor's Note: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it has sued a man who markets HCG Platinum diet products alleging that the products were marketed using false weight-loss claims. The false claims alleged by FTC include: rapid and substantial weight loss; consumers will likely lose as much weight as the endorsers in advertisements; consumers lose a pound a day; and clinically proven to burn fat, reduce weight, and lower cholesterol. FTC asked the court to order the defendants to surrender the more than $13 million from sales allegedly made through deceptive marketing. The complaint also named seven relief defendants, who received money from sales of the HCG product, but had no active role in the alleged efforts to deceive consumers. In 2011, the FDA and FTC warned the defendant that the products were mislabeled drugs and that it is unlawful to make unsupported weight-loss claims.

Federal Trade Commission

FTC Charges HCG Marketer with Deceptive Advertising

Defendants Promised Dietary Supplement Would Cause Substantial Weight Loss 

The Federal Trade Commission has sued an Arizona man who markets HCG Platinum diet products by falsely claiming the products will cause consumers to lose substantial amounts of weight. Kevin Wright and his companies must respond to the complaint in federal court.

HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by the human placenta that, for decades, has been falsely promoted by various marketers for weight loss. In November 2011, Wright and six other HCG marketers received warning letters issued jointly by FDA and FTC staff, advising them that their HCG products are mislabeled drugs under the FDA Act, and warning that it is unlawful under the FTC Act to make weight-loss claims that are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Marketing through retail outlets such as GNC, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, and through their own  websites, Wright and his companies, HCG Platinum and Right Way Nutrition, LLC, promise consumers that HCG Platinum liquid drops will cause rapid and substantial weight loss, and they claim consumers will likely lose as much weight as the endorsers in their advertisements.

The defendants, who also make claims on Facebook, on product packaging, and in Internet pop-up ads and magazines, direct consumers to place the HCG concoctions under their tongues before meals and stick to a very low calorie diet of 500 to 800 calories per day. They typically charge between $60 and $149 for a thirty-day supply of one of their three HCG Platinum formulations.

The defendants market two of their three formulations as "homeopathic," which means the listed ingredients are diluted to the point they are undetectable. On product packaging and in other advertising, they claim that the products cause consumers to lose a pound a day, are safe to use, and are clinically proven to burn fat, reduce weight, and lower cholesterol.

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