FTC Charges That Weight Loss Claims
for "Fat-Magnet" Diet Pills Are False
Seeks Injunction, Consumer Redress
FTC News Release
January 11, 1990
The Federal Trade Commission has charged that advertising claims that Fat-Magnet diet pills will help users lose weight without dieting or exercise are false and misleading. A federal court has issued a temporary restraining order putting an immediate stop to such claims and freezing the assets of two companies.
The Commission's complaint charges the defendants with making false and unsubstantiated advertising claims. The complaint asks the US District Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions and to order defendants to pay consumer redress.
The complaint alleges that in newspaper ads, the defendants claimed that the Fat-Magnet pill "breaks into thousands of particles, each acting like a tiny magnet, 'attracting' and trapping many times its size in undigested fat particles. Then, the trapped fat is naturally 'flushed' right out of your body 'before' it has a chance to become ugly bulging fat." The ads also said, "The Fat-Magnet pills alone 'automatically' help you reduce calories by eliminating fat, with no special diet menus to follow, no rigid calorie counting, and no exercising," and that they are "100% safe."
The complaint charges, however, that Fat-Magnet:
- does not cause a perceptible loss of weight or fat;
- will not significantly contribute to the weight loss effects of dieting or exercising; and
- is not "100%" safe, and in fact can cause physical harm to some consumers.
The defendants do not have a reasonable basis for the ad claims, the FTC charges.
The complaint names Allied International Corp., which does business as Fat-Magnet, and its president, Harold Martino; Linder Ad-Vantage Inc., the product's advertising agency; Milton Linder, an officer of both companies; Eric Linder, president of Ad-Vantage; and William E. Shell, MD, the purported inventor of Fat-Magnet who provides "expert" endorsements for it.
The investigation was handled by the FTC's New York and Los Angeles Regional Offices, which received assistance from the US Postal Service, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, West Virginia and Vermont, the California Food and Drug Administration and the Colorado Department of Health.
- Civil Action No. 90-0120 (Central District of California). FTC File No. 882-3020.
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This page was posted on August 27, 2006.