WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida-based company that has promoted its Isoprex supplement to older adults as a miracle cure for pain and joint inflammation has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that bars the company from continuing to make its unproven claims.
The proposed court order settling the FTC’s complaint would prohibit Renaissance Health Publishing, LLC and its owner James DiGeorgia from making such claims unless they are true and supported by reliable tests or studies. The order also would impose a judgment of $3.93 million, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay, after the defendants pay $100,000. The FTC may use those funds to pay refunds to consumers harmed by the defendants’ allegedly misleading advertising.
“When you target older adults with promises that your supplement will relieve pain better than FDA-approved drugs, you’d better have the scientific proof to back that up,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “For help with pain or other health conditions, people should rely on their medical professional, not on an advertisement.”
According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants have advertised and sold Isoprex to consumers nationwide, using both direct mail brochures and websites. Isoprex is a pill consisting primarily of a combination of herbs and spices.
Using flashy headlines such as “Stop Doing This ONE THING and SLASH Your Chance of an Early Joint Replacement by HALF,” the defendants’ marketing pieces claimed that Isoprex: 1) relieves pain, including muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, and arthritis; 2) reduces inflammation and swelling, including joint inflammation and knee swelling; 3) rebuilds joints and repairs damaged joint cartilage; 4) is 100% effective at relieving inflammation and swelling; and 5) provides pain relief comparable or better than OTC drugs.
The complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely claimed to have tests and studies to back up their product claims. The FTC also alleges the defendants failed to disclose that the endorsers appearing in their Isoprex ads either were compensated for their testimonials, or actually were company employees and their relatives.
The proposed order would prohibit the defendants from making further unproven claims and from misrepresenting the results of scientific tests, studies, or research, including those in the complaint regarding pain relief and inflammation. They also would be required to disclose any material connections with endorsers of the products they are advertising and selling.
The Commission vote approving the complaint and proposed stipulated order was 5-0. The FTC filed the complaint and proposed stipulated order in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division.
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