The Federal Trade Commission sued two companies to stop them from continuing to deceive consumers with false claims that their pills are scientifically proven to alleviate joint pain by growing new bone and cartilage.
The FTC filed a complaint against ZyCal Bioceuticals, that has marketed a line of joint pain relief products under the brand name Ostinol. The same complaint includes allegations against another company Excellent Marketing Results, Inc. (EMR), which marketed a pill called StimTein through infomercials and online.
According to the FTC, the pills sold by both companies use the same active ingredient, Cyplexinol, and both companies claimed that their pills grow bone and cartilage, thereby providing relief from joint pain. The complaint alleges that ZyCal supplied EMR with Cyplexinol, and gave EMR product information, clinical studies, and other promotional material about its supposed health benefits.
The FTC contends that the claims made by both companies are false and not supported by scientific evidence. The FTC also alleges that both companies used deceptive testimonials to sell the products.
EMR and its president, Michael McGahee, have agreed to settle the FTC’s complaint. Under a proposed court order, they are prohibited from making health-related product claims unless such claims are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The order prohibits EMR and McGahee from misrepresenting the results of any scientific study, and it prohibits them from deceptively representing that a product endorser’s views represent the views of an impartial user when they do not. The proposed order requires EMR and McGahee to disclose any material relationships between themselves and product endorsers.
The proposed order imposes a $3.6 million judgment against EMR and McGahee. The judgment will be partially suspended upon payment of $145,000, which the FTC may use to provide refunds to consumers.
The FTC is proceeding with litigation against ZyCal Bioceuticals and its president James Scaffidi.
The Commission votes approving the complaint and proposed consent order were 5-0. The complaint and proposed order were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final injunctions/orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
Mary L. Johnson
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Bureau of Consumer Protection