FTC Slams Kids' Weight-Loss Infomercials

The Federal Trade Commission charged that the marketers of weight-loss supplements Leptoprin, Anorex, PediaLean, Dermalin, and topical treatments Cutting Gel and Tummy Flattening Gel have made false and unsubstantiated claims for their products in short-form TV infomercials, among other ad media.

Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection Howard Beales singled out the child-targeted PediaLean for particular censure.

"Dramatic, unsubstantiated weight and fat loss claims continue to tempt the overweight with new hope for a quick fix," he wrote, "It’s particularly disturbing, however, when marketers peddle such pills and potions for children without adequate substantiation."  The emphasis was no accident. Beales testified Wednesday on marketing dietary supplements to children as a witness before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The targets of the complaint are Basic Research, L.L.C.; A.G. Waterhouse, L.L.C.; Klein-Becker usa, L.L.C.; Nutrasport, L.L.C.; Sovage Dermalogic Laboratories, L.L.C.; BAN, L.L.C.; Dennis Gay; Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., also doing business as American Phytotheraphy Research Laboratory; and Mitchell K. Friedlander.

The FTC has been cracking down on dietary supplements, including asking broadcasting and particularly cable executives to better screen those ads for facially false claims.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.