Claims for genetically customized nutritional supplements: Show me the proof!
When it comes to treatments for health conditions, it can be tough to tell useful products from those that don’t work as claimed. Dietary supplements may seem like harmless health boosters. But while some have proven benefits, many don't.
Two marketers of genetically customized nutritional supplements have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising, including representations that their personalized nutritional supplements treat diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, insomnia, and other ailments. Tens of thousands of consumers ordered and used the products, which cost more than $100 per month.
GeneLink, Inc. and its former subsidiary, foruTM International Corp., claimed that based on DNA obtained through a customer’s cheek swab, their customized nutritional supplements could compensate for that individual’s genetic disadvantages and that their customized skin repair serum was scientifically proven to work. Slight problem: According the FTC’s complaint, GeneLink and foru had inadequate proof to back up their claims.
To add insult to injury, GeneLink and foru also allegedly failed to take reasonable and appropriate security measures to safeguard personal information collected from nearly 30,000 people. That’s enough to give anyone insomnia.
But take a deep breath: These settlements are part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to ensure that health claims are adequately substantiated and to protect the security and confidentiality of consumers’ sensitive health and financial information.