United States - Supplement Marketers Will Relinquish $1.4 Million to Settle FTC Deceptive Advertising Charges

To resolve FTC charges that they deceived consumers with claims that their supplement was clinically proven to improve memory, mood, and other cognitive functions, the marketers of a dietary supplement called Procera AVH will relinquish $1.4 million. According to the FTC, the defendants marketed and sold Procera AVH as a solution to memory loss and cognitive decline, including as associated with aging, using infomercials, direct mail flyers, newspapers, and the Internet. Procera AVH typically cost $79 per bottle. The Commission's complaint alleges that efficacy claims for Procera AVH were false, misleading, or unsubstantiated and that the defendants falsely claimed that a scientific study proved the product's efficacy. The complaint also charges the founder and chief science officer of defendant Brain Research Labs with making deceptive expert endorsements for Procera AVH. 

Under the terms of the settlements, the defendants will pay $1 million to the FTC, and another $400,000 to satisfy a judgment in a case brought by local California law enforcement officials. The settlement also bars the defendants from making similar deceptive claims and from misrepresenting the existence, results, or conclusions of any siectific study. This action follows other recent FTC cases challenging deceptive cognitive claims, such as teaching toddlers to read, boosting students' grades and college admissions test scores, and improving memory in older adults, to name just a few. Many consumers are concerned about cognition at every stage of life, but, as the FTC has emphasized, companies shouldn't rush into the market unless they have, at minimum, competent and reliable scientific evidence to support their claims.