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Alzheimer’s disease poses what experts agree is a looming public health crisis. But it also exacts an incalculable personal toll on people living with the condition and the family and friends who love them. The FTC and the Food and Drug Administration just sent warning letters to three companies advertising that their products can treat diseases like Alzheimer’s. It’s a development that merits industry attention.

Like many consumers, the FTC and FDA did some online “shopping” to see what companies are saying about dietary supplements and other remedies advertised for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia, and related illnesses. The FDA found products that appear to be making drug claims without legal approval under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. And the FTC spotted some highly questionable advertising claims, possibly in violation of the FTC Act’s substantiation requirement. The agencies sent joint warning letters to Florida-based Gold Crown Natural Products, South Carolina-based TEK Naturals, and New Mexico-based Pure Nootropics, LLC, giving them 15 working days to address the concerns.

Even if your business isn’t making unproven Alzheimer’s claims – and we hope you’re not – the letters offer insights into marketing practices that raise FTC compliance concerns.

Disease claims demand scrupulous scientific proof.  It’s illegal to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure a disease unless you have competent and reliable scientific evidence in hand. For claims about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other serious conditions, that means well‑controlled human clinical studies.

Products that claim to do it all often do nothing.  We’ve spotted an interesting phenomenon in ads for questionable health products. They often position themselves as a panacea for a broad range of diseases. As the FTC and FDA noted in their letters, the advertisers didn’t stop with Alzheimer’s claims. Some companies also said their products would reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, epilepsy, and schizophrenia – to name just a few of the conditions they mentioned in their marketing materials. In our experience, a product advertised as a cure-all often turns out to be a cure-nothing. That’s why ads like that are more likely to attract federal or state law enforcement interest.

Challenging deceptive health claims continues to top our to-do list. Just because a product is available online or sits on a store shelf is no guarantee that its ad claims are true. Why are questionable health representations an FTC priority? Because they inflict a triple whammy on consumers. First, money spent on bogus remedies is money consumers won’t have for reputable care. Second, time spent on spurious “cures” may delay their access to proven treatments. And third, some products on the market may contain risky undisclosed ingredients that could harm rather than help.

For information about substantiating health claims, consult FTC resources for business. To find reliable information about treating diseases, visit and


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Aminata M. Toure
February 11, 2019
I think Alzheimer's is a sickness based on stressful life that requier to much thinking that the brain in the end had is cup full. Exersising can help reduce and also brain exersices for example maths, crossing words and many more.
February 11, 2019
02/11/2019 This comment is in regards to the current "epidemic" of alzeheimer's. What I would like to point out is: 1. Short term memory loss is an attribute of alzehimer's. 2. Short term memory loss is an attribute of "POT" usage. The point is, if "POT" smoking/usage is a factor in the on set of alzeheimer's then the availability of "POT" should be controlled. Thank you,
Roderick Coe
February 11, 2019
Why are ads still appearing on TV for the product "PREVGEN?" The cure was originally found in jellyfish and has been shown to help with memory loss. I remember seeing reports that rulings against the product were approved.
December 21, 2019
As a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and postdoctoral work in epidemiology, I question the harshness of banning the word "risk factor". In the field of Alzheimer's disease (my research focus) and almost every non-communicable disease, there are several factors that underscore the vast majority of chronic diseases. They are stress, lack of, or low quality sleep, inflammation and excess free radical damage. If I discovered an intervention shows that it can make a clear difference in any of these factors, could I at least say that I would hypothesize that it would lower the risk of these diseases (although no studies linking the intervention to the disease has been done)? Also , what is your criteria for considering something evidence based? Is the criteria equal regardless of the intervention? I think if you are going to crack down on "unsupported claims", then you should clearly define the specific criteria needed to be considered "supported". I would greatly appreciate your reply. There is a lot of confusion for those of us who are doing our best to comply with your requirements.