Marketers of Focus Factor and "V-Factor" should have no trouble focusing on this: they've agreed to pay $1 million as part of a settlement with federal investigators who charged them with making unsubstantiated claims for their products.
Focus Factor is a dietary supplement that supposedly improves concentration, while V-Factor claims to enhance sexual performance.
But in a federal court complaint, the Federal Trade Commission charged that promoters of the supplements did not have adequate scientific evidence to back up their claims.
In one complaint, the FTC charges Vital Basics, Inc. of Portland, Maine, and its principals, Robert Graham and Michael Shane, with not having adequate substantiation to back up claims they made about the efficacy of Focus Factor and the safety of V-Factor Natural Pack. They were ordered not to engage in similar acts in the future and to pay $1 million.
In another complaint, the FTC charged Creative Health Institute, Inc. of Corinth, Texas, and its principal, Dr. Kyl Smith, with making unsubstantiated claims about Focus Factors ability to improve users focus, memory, mood, and concentration. They have agreed to a similar consent order and will pay $60,000.
Focus Factor is a dietary supplement that contains, among other things, vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and amino acids. Dr. Smith developed Focus Factor, and advertised and sold it through Creative Health Institute from at least 1997 to 2000.
Since 2000, the defendants advertised and sold Focus Factor. They allegedly marketed Focus Factor as improving the focus, memory, and concentration of healthy adults; alleviating stress and combating the fatigue, irritability, and mood swings that healthy adults experience; making children and teenagers feel more alert, focused, and mentally sharp; improving students ability to concentrate and their academic performance; improving senior citizens memory, mental clarity, and energy; improving adults ability to absorb information in books and to recall facts, figures, and names; and as having the desired effects in as little as one to 10 days. The Commissions two complaints challenge these claims as unsubstantiated.
V-Factor is a dietary supplement that contains, among other things, yohimbine and L-argenine. The VBI respondents allegedly marketed V-Factor as a male sexual performance enhancer. The FTC alleges that the VBI respondents did not have substantiation for their claim that V-Factor is safe for virtually all men, and that they misrepresented that a clinical study proved that V-Factor is safe and effective at improving sexual response and function.
The Commissions complaints further allege that the defendants failed to disclose that certain endorsers who appeared in Focus Factor advertising had material connections with the product.
In addition, the FTC alleges that Vital Basics represented that consumer endorsements were made without compensation, and failed to disclose that consumer endorsements were solicited with a promise of a free 6-month supply of Focus Factor to those individuals whose testimonials were used in advertising; and that Vital Basics misrepresented that certain radio infomercials were independent radio programs, not paid commercial advertising.