Friday, January 12, 2007

$25 million meaningless

Oh this is just stupid. If half the energy that went into discovering pills and medications like this were to go into ways to change the diet industry from money sucking attention glommers full of fad diets, there would be so much less obesity in the American culture, animals included.

The above comment is from Andrea from my post on the new diet pill for Fat Fido, er, Plus Sized Pooch. This is a perfect segue into today's topic of human diet pills.

Last week, the US Federal Trade Commission took a bold step (yeah right) and fined the marketers of four weight loss drugs a collective total of $25 million for false claims.

A commercial for one of the drugs, Trimspa, is seen above with its spokesperson at the time, Anna Nicole Smith. The commercial is really pathethic. It makes me laugh every time I see it. "Trimspa, baby." Too funny.
"Testimonials from individuals are not a substitute for science," [FTC Chairman Deborah Platt] Majoras said. "And that's what Americans need to understand."

The FTC investigated a variety of claims, including rapid weight loss and reduction in the risk of osteoporosis, Alzheimer's and even cancer, Majoras noted.
Did I mention that even though these companies were fined, these "weight loss" products are remaining on the market? What kind of a joke is that? How many millions of dollars a year do these companies rake in? I believe that this fine is just a slap on the wrist. It's a completely meaningless gesture that will have no impact whatsoever.

That's the problem with these so-called dietary supplements. They can claim whatever they want. All they have to do is pay a fine and continue to spread their propaganda and sell their product.

Now, if prescription drugs made false claims, well that's another story. That's a big story. The drug would be removed from the market. It would be painted as another failure of the FDA and that's front page news. Also, another hit piece media story against pharmaceutical companies. Doctors would not be immune to this fall out as well - "How could doctors willingly particpate in the deception of patients?"

But, since it's products like, TrimSpa and Cortislim, well, they're not really medications, are they? They're just supplements. Everyone knows that they say their weight loss drugs, but they really don't mean it. It's just a marketing thing.

The lack of accountibility and the double standard here really get me upset. If the federal government wants to send the right message and to make an impact, they should remove these "diet pills" from the market. Oh yeah, I forgot. This is the federal government where bureaucracy, politics, and the status quo rule. Thanks for tolerating my whining once again. Have a great weekend!


Lea said...

I have always believed in "buyer beware", but these companies that sell the supplements REALLY sell them. The average American is going to believe anything they see on tv or the net. This is all so very dangerous! These companies need to be held accountable!

....that's all for now....

Anonymous said...

In the print add for these (and even the 'legit' weigh loss plans like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc), who showcase the obese person svelt, after using said prodcuts, have the tiny print at the bottom saying, "These are not normal results. YOur weight loss may be slower."

Anonymous said...

An Aside: btw, Dr. A. Don Henley's End of the Innocence is one of my favorites as well. It was one my 'theme' songs when I was in grad school. Great taste in music!

Anonymous said...

What amazes me is all the women and men who spend so much money on diet pills.

Anonymous said...

Having lost A LOT of weight myself(85 pounds lost the old-fashion way, eating well and exercising!), I feel this topic is a really important one. First, I should say that, when I was in high school, I tried diet pills, but realized very quickly they were bad news and could never result in lasting, healthy weight loss. I also agree, Dr. A, that people are subjected to tons of misrepresentations when it comes to weight loss pills. I'm not a doctor, but I can say that it's also a shame that there are so many 'legit' prescription drug commercials on television and in magazines these days. I would venture to guess that doctors like you are dealing with people who see commercials like these, self-diagnose, and insist you give them the name-brand, magic pill(s) they saw on television. Even in the world of legitimate Rx drugs, this kind of hype can be a dangerous thing, especially because the commercials offer very little information on proper indications and cautions.

Anonymous said...

These diet drugs should be pulled from the market, no question. However, people need to stop looking for a quick fix to their weight issues as well.

I lost 60 pounds with good nutrition and exercise. There is no magic pill no matter what the TV ads say and people really need to get that.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Dr., I think this is a fine start. I thought we did away with the snakes oil salesman? They creeped into other things, in other ways, didn't they. I think it's high time, we are held accountable for our actions, especially corporate and our get rich quick schemes. That video is beyond laughable. Their PR guy is just as much a loser! Have a great day Dr.!

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