Attorney General alleges consumer fraud in online ads exaggerating benefits of herbal pills
(DES MOINES, Iowa) The marketer of an herbal remedy touted online as able to “reduce memory loss” and “ignite your brain’s true powers and potential” paid $35,000 to the state last week and must stop targeting Iowans, as part of a court-approved agreement finalized in November.
The agreement, through a consent judgment filed in Polk County District Court, bars JGG Enterprises Inc. and its owner, Joseph Gregory Grelock, from any further Iowa marketing of Intellux or any other dietary supplement that involves claims of health benefits that are not supported by “competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
“These ads preyed on the understandable desire of older Iowans to restore a keen memory and mental focus that may have deteriorated with age,” Miller said. “These defendants claimed benefits for their pills without having the required scientific support, and that’s consumer fraud.”
The defendants, who deny liability, agreed to pay $25,000 in refunds to more than 180 Iowa consumers and an additional $10,000 to support future enforcement of Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act. Refund amounts for the supposed brain-boosting herbal pills will range from about $50 to $150.
The Consumer Protection Division will mail refund checks to eligible consumers, based on sales information provided by the company.
Miller’s office has previously pursued other cases where dietary supplement marketers engaged in deceptive marketing to Iowans, including Independent Nutraceuticals Inc., Au Naturale, Supervitality, Americare, Health Center Inc., and Leading Health Source.
Unlike prescription medications that must be shown to be safe and effective before they can be sold to consumers, dietary supplements occupy a special legal status under federal law that allows marketing without any proof that they are either safe or effective.
Avoid risking your money – or even your health -- on unproven “remedies:”
- Consumers should be wary of ads touting extraordinary health benefits for one product or another.Claims like “scientific breakthrough” and “miracle cure” are almost always more about marketing than responsible treatment.
- Be aware that dietary supplements can go on the shelves without proof that they are safe, or that they work, unlike prescription drugs that must be scientifically tested before going public.
- Get advice from trusted health professionals who know you and are well-situated to evaluate the best treatments for you.They are typically the most reliable source of help in dealing with health challenges.
- With health fraud as with other consumer frauds, if it sounds too good to be true, it is almost certainly not true.
For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Consumer Protection Division through the Attorney General’s website at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov or email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumers can also call the Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926, or outside the Des Moines area, toll free, at 888-777-4590.