Feds crack down on 4 bogus weight loss aids

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm •  Published: January 7, 2014
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The total judgment against Sensa was actually $46.5 million, but $20 million was suspended because of the company's inability to pay, according to the FTC.

Under the terms of the FTC order, Sensa CEO Adam Goldenberg and Sensa creator Dr. Alan Hirsch are barred from making weight loss claims for any future products unless they are supported by two rigorous clinical trials. According to the FTC complaint, Hirsch conducted two misleading studies and wrote a book used to sell Sensa. The company claimed that the powder enhanced the smell and taste of food, leading users to feel fuller and eat less.

FTC also said that Sensa failed to disclose that some customers who appeared in company ads were paid $1,000 to $5,000 and received complementary trips to Los Angeles.

The company said in a statement it has agreed to remove the claims cited by the FTC from its advertising.

"The settlement involves no admission of wrongful conduct by the company and does not challenge the product's safety," Sensa said, adding that it will continue marketing its products with new advertisements.

Online and in-store beauty product seller L'Occitane claimed its Almond Beautiful skin cream could help users "trim 1.3 inches in just 4 weeks." The international company charged more than $44 for each bottle of the cream. Under the FTC settlement, L'Occitane will repay $450,000 to customers and is prohibited from making such claims in the future without proper clinical studies.

Arizona-based HCG Diet Direct marketed liquid drops of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which is produced by the human placenta. The hormone has been falsely promoted as a weight loss aid for decades, despite no evidence supporting that use. The government's $3.2 million judgment against the company was suspended because of HCG's inability to pay.