Bogus Diet Pill Claim

by Barbara Nevins Taylor

The Healthe Trim website claims the company sold a million bottles containing  a supplement that could make you “high school skinny.”  Maybe we should automatically distrust a company that doesn’t spell health correctly.

It turns out this was another bogus diet pill claim. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says Healthe Trim pills couldn’t do the trick, no scientific evidence backed up the claims and marketers of Healthe Trim knew it.

John Matthew Dwyer III, the co-founder of HealthyLife Sciences, agreed to settle FTC charges that it deceived consumers. Yet, no one goes to prison and apparently they get to keep the money they made.

Dwyer and HealthyLife Sciences sold the supplements online and at CVS, GNC, and Walgreens for up to $65 for a month’s supply. They claimed the supplements would cause rapid and substantial weight loss of as much as 165 pounds.

They promoted the product with TV and radio commercials touting the idea that Healthe Trim was clinically proven to cause weight loss. Testimonials from consumers claimed their weight was “falling off.” The company claimed you could “get high school skinny” without exercising or changing your routine.

But Jessica Rich, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “Losing weight is rarely easy, and it would be a miracle if a pill made it so. Consumers should be skeptical when a product like this one claims to make weight loss easy.”

The settlements ban Dwyer from manufacturing and marketing weight-loss products. It bans HealthyLife Sciences from advertising that “its products cause weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise; cause substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the user eats; cause permanent weight loss; block the absorption of fat or calories to enable the user to lose substantial weight; safely enable users to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks; cause substantial weight loss for all users; or cause substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin.”

The settlement with HealthyLife Sciences also requires that the company conduct two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials to support other claims relating to weight loss, increased metabolism, or appetite suppression.

Both Dwyer and HealthyLife Sciences are prohibited from claiming that any dietary supplement, food, or drug is effective without competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up the claims.

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.