The recent settlement was made public in a case brought by the FTC against Health Research Laboratories, LLC, Whole Body Supplements LLC, and Duhon.
Cardiovascular disease and diabetic neuropathy claims
In this latest action, Duhon and his companies have agreed to cease making unsubstantiated claims that The Ultimate Heart Formula (UHF), BG18 and Black Garlic Botanicals branded supplements – prevent or treat cardiovascular and other diseases, and that Another Neupathic Brand Supplement Cures, Mitigates, or Treats Diabetic Neuropathy.
“This order barring the Supplement Industry Respondents should end their long history of baseless claims that their products can treat various illnesses,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau. “People with serious health conditions should trust their healthcare professionals, not advertisements.”
The settlement came as part of an administrative complaint filed by the FTC in November 2020. That complaint was filed after the Commission failed in its bid to have Duhon and the companies convicted of contempt for violating a prior settlement with the FTC and the State of Maine.
Duhon paid an $800,000 fine in 2018
Duhon had agreed in 2018 to stop making unsubstantiated claims on several products. A nominal fine of $3.7 million had been imposed in this case, and Duhon agreed to pay $800,000 up front.. In addition to the unsubstantiated illness claims he was making, Duhon and his company allegedly violated provisions of the Telemarketing and Electronic Funds Transfer Acts, in that consumers struggled to stop recurring debits from their accounts a once they had signed up for deliveries. products, fraudulent “risk-free” trial periods and other violations.
In the 2018 FTC/Maine case, Duhon and his company were accused of marketing two of his health products, BioTherapex, a dietary supplement that allegedly targets the liver to treat a host of ailments, and NeuroPlus, a brain supplement, using a variety of false and unsubstantiated claims.
Duhon claimed that BioTherapex can treat arthritis, relieve joint and back pain, and lead to significant weight loss. NeuroPlus was believed to protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, reverse memory loss, and improve memory and cognitive performance.
Warning letter passed
The consent decree announced last week would be Duhon’s third round of federal regulatory action related to dietary supplements he has marketed. In 2014, the Duhon received a warning letter from the FDA that listed 36 separate unauthorized claims on a variety of products, one of which was also labeled as BioTherapex. Among the claims Duhon was making about the products at the time was testimony that a product had cleared a customer’s artery blockage, the products could “Fighting the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease”,and a product would be “significantly reduces the risk of heart attack.”