Medifast to pay $3.7M to settle FTC charges

Associated Press Published: September 10, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators said Monday that a subsidiary of diet plan marketer Medifast Inc. will pay a $3.7 million civil penalty to settle charges that it violated a previous federal order by making unsupported claims about its weight-loss products.

The Federal Trade Commission charged that claims made by Jason Pharmaceuticals Inc. in its ads for meal replacement products violated a 1992 FTC settlement order. Under federal law, companies the violate FTC orders may be liable for civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation per day, the FTC said.

Jason sells Medifast-brand low-calorie meal substitutes. The FTC complaint charges that it made unsupported claims dating back to at least 2009 in radio, TV, Internet, and print ads, saying that people would lose two to five pounds each week with the products. The ads featured before and after photos and claimed that consumers could lose more than 30 pounds on the program, the FTC said.

Under the new settlement order, Jason is barred from saying that consumers who use any meal replacement program can expect to achieve the same results that the people featured in its ads, or that they can lose a particular amount of weight.

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