The Federal Trade Commission today mailed out 153,109 checks to consumers who were victims of false advertisement promises of weight loss and erectile dysfunction remedies. The refunds, which total approximately $6 million, are the result of a 2008 court opinion in favor of the FTC which brought the suit against National Urological Group and Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals.
The FTC alleged that the companies made false advertising claims regarding two supplements: Thermalean and Lipodrene. The defendants claimed that the supplements caused substantial weight loss and that consumers would enjoy losing 19% of their bodyweight.
The third supplement, Spontane-ES, was claimed to treat erectile dysfunction. Defendants claimed that the supplement was clinically proven to effectively treat 90% of men with ED.
Dietary products have been drawing in those eager to lose weight fast and effectively for decades. While the FTC did not say that any demographic groups were targeted by the false claims, given the disproportionate impact of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes on the Black American community, its members could be more susceptible to scams such as this one.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40.5% of Black American males over the age of 20 suffer from hypertension. Of this number, 71.5% have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Just over 44% of Black American females over the age of 20 suffer from hypertension and out of this number, 51% have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Over 25% of Black American males and over 25% of Black American females have high cholesterol.
Regarding diabetes, CDC reports that 16.4% of Black Americans have diabetes. This includes diabetes diagnosed by a physician and undiagnosed.
As long as a quick fix is available to those who do not or cannot access safer, healthier remedies, these scams may persist.
Refund checks are only good for two months. They must be cashed by 23 October 2012.