HCG Weight Loss Dietary Supplement Marketer Nailed by FTC for False Advertising

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The Federal Trade Commission has brought charges against Kevin Wright and two of his companies for claiming that HCG found in the over-the-counter dietary products he markets to consumers will cause significant weight loss. HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by the human placenta that often is falsely promoted for weight loss.

Wright and his companies, HCG Platinum and Right Way Nutrition, LLC, must respond to the complaint in federal court, according to an FTC announcement on October 30.

Together, the FTC and FDA first issued warning letters to Wright and six other HCG marketers in November 2011, notifying them that the HCG products are considered mislabeled drugs under the FDA Act, in addition to warning them about the unlawfulness of making weight loss claims that are not supported by credible and reliable scientific evidence.

The HCG Platinum products can be found in retail outlets such as GNC, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, and through websites.  Claims made on Facebook, product packaging, Internet pop-up ads, and in magazines promise consumers rapid and substantial weight loss by placing HCG Platinum liquid drops under their tongues before meals.

A thirty-day supply, which comes in three formulations, typically costs between $60 and $149. The FTC has asked the court to order the defendants, which have sold more than $13 million of the products to consumers since 2010, to surrender the proceeds they received from their deceptive marketing of HCG Platinum products.

The complaint also names seven relief defendants, who received money from sales of the HCG product, but had no central role in the alleged efforts to deceive consumers:  Weekes Holdings, LLC; Primary Colors, LLC; KMATT Holdings, LLC; Nutrisport Holdings, LLC; Ty D. Mattingly; Julie Mattingly; and Annette Wright.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on October 30, 2013.

The FDA reminds consumers to be skeptical of advertisements that promote HCG as a weight-loss treatment. For more information see the video, Being Fooled by Empty Diet Promises.

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