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.
Looking for a product to help you lose weight? Ask some questions before you plunk down any money. For example: “Will I really lose a pound a day if I squirt a few drops of homeopathic hCG weight loss drops under my tongue before I eat?” No, you won’t, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s recent settlement with HCG Diet Direct, LLC, a company that marketed and sold the drops.
The Federal Trade Commission is distributing a total of $5.9 million in refunds to more than 316,000 people who bought various products that claimed to help people lose weight and prevent cancer. The FTC said that Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc., used misleading claims, deceptive free trial offers, and phony endorsements to market Acai Pure as a weight loss product and Colotox as a cancer prevention supplement, and must refund money to consumers who bought them.
Adults living at home, in an assisted living facility or a nursing home may use portable bed rails for help getting in and out of bed. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have new resources for consumers, caregivers, and health care providers about bed rails — how to shop for them, how to install and use them safely, what risks they may create, and where to report a problem.
Starting October 1, people will have new ways to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. As opening day approaches, the media will no doubt carry more stories about the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to enroll, and where to get legitimate help. Now that’s the kind of news you can use.
One other piece of news that’s useful: federal and state agencies are working together to encourage consumers to report scammers who use the Health Insurance Marketplace as bait.
With cold and flu season just around the corner, you might be considering ways to boost your immune system. Before you spend any money on a dietary supplement that claims it can prevent or treat the common cold, you might want to read up on two recent FTC cases.
What would you do if you thought your insurance benefits were on the line?
The FTC has charged AFD Medical Advisors in a telemarketing scheme that allegedly targeted older people and convinced them to pay $299 for a "YourRXCard" or "RXrelief' prescription benefit card that would supposedly give them big discounts on prescription drugs. According to the FTC, the company claimed it was affiliated with Medicare, Social Security, or legitimate insurance companies, and led people to believe they had to buy the cards to continue receiving their existing insurance benefits.