Prevagen’s fishy brainpower claims
When an ad suggests a product can improve your memory in 90 days, you might be tempted to buy it. But, if solid science doesn’t back these claims, forget about it.
The FTC and the New York Attorney General’s Office sued the marketers of Prevagen for allegedly making false claims that the dietary supplement can improve memory loss and support brain health in older adults. Marketers say Prevagen’s active ingredient — derived from a species of jellyfish — can get rid of excess calcium that builds up in the brain as we age. The TV ads for Prevagen even tout a clinical study and featured dramatic charts.
But according to the FTC, that study actually found that Prevagen didn’t impact brain function as advertised, and the company doesn’t have evidence to back up its claims for memory or other cognitive benefits.
Prevagen’s ongoing and widespread marketing campaign includes national television and radio ads, infomercials on major networks, and ads in magazines, websites and social media. Marketers also promote Prevagen at health food centers and health expos nationwide. As a result, estimated gross revenues for Prevagen are roughly $165 million – the amount the FTC is seeking to return to people who bought the product.
If you remember nothing else, be skeptical about buying a product claiming to do the phenomenal. And report it to the FTC if you pay for a product that promises, but fails, to deliver miraculous results.