FTC Takes Alternative HRT Purveyors to Task

October 5, 2007

2 Min Read
FTC Takes Alternative HRT Purveyors to Task

WASHINGTONOn Oct. 5, FTC announced it filed complaints against seven online purveyors of alternative hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products, alleging the companies made unsupported health claims about the efficacy of the natural progesterone creams. Six of the sellers signed consent orders with the agency, while the seventh will take the case to an administrative law judge.

According to FTC, the companies made unsubstantiated claims that the natural progesterone creams were effective in preventing, treating or curing osteoporosis; could prevent or reduce the risk of estrogen-induced endometrial (uterine) cancer; and would not increase the users risk of developing breast cancer and/or were effective in preventing or reducing the users risk of developing breast cancer.

Consent orders were signed with the following defendants: Lawrence A. Jordan and Stephanie L. Jordan, individually and doing business as (d/b/a) Springboard and Pro Health Labs, Spring Valley, Calif.; Elation Therapy Inc., and Robert Rutledge, individually and as an officer of Elation Therapy Inc., Marietta, Ga.; Merilou Barnekow, individually and d/b/a Womens Menopause Health Center, Surfside Beach, Texas; The Green Willow Tree LLC, and Robert Burns individually and as a manager and member of The Green Willow Tree LLC, Asheville, N.C.; Health Science International Inc., and David Martin, individually and as an officer of the Port Orange, Fla.-based company; and Shelly Black, individually and d/b/a Progesterone Advocates Network, Trabuco Canyon, Calif. Under the terms of the orders, the respondents are required to have competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating claims about the health benefits, performance, efficacy, safety or side effects of any dietary supplement, food, drug, device, or health-related service or program. In addition, the orders prevent the respondents from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions or interpretations of any test, study or research.

The charges against Herbs Nutrition Corp. and Syed M. Jafry, individually and as an officer of the Torrance, Calif.-based company, will be heard by an FTC administrative law judge.

FTC staff identified the respondents through an Internet search of Web sites advertising products that claimed they were natural alternatives to HRT and that they would prevent diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis. FTC staff sent warning letters to 34 Web site operators informing them that they must have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support any health-related claims made for their products. FDA also sent letters to an additional 16 alternative HRT sellers, warning them that their business practices could be in violation of FDA law.

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