FTC Files Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Supplement Manufacturer For False Claims Regarding Speech Therapy Drug
The FTC has filed a lawsuit in Chicago, Illinois against a dietary supplement manufacturer that claimed its drugs can help children with serious speech disabilities learn to talk.
NourishLife, LLC and its president Mark Nottoli are the defendants in the consumer protection lawsuit. The company sells supplements including “Speak” and “Speak Smooth,” which the company falsely claimed would assist children develop better verbal skills, especially children with autism and verbal apraxia.
Although there are no harmful chemicals in the supplements – they contain Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and other ingredients – they will not improve verbal skills in children with severe speech disabilities, the FTC says. A 60-count bottle of capsules costs $71.95.
“Defendants have represented, expressly or by implication, that Speak is clinically proven to develop and maintain normal, healthy speech and language capacity in children, including children who have apraxia and autism spectrum disorders, among other developmental conditions,” the FTC says.
NourishLife claims on its website that scientific research backs up the company’s claims, but the company also owns the domain apraxiaresearch.com, which makes bogus claims to support NourishLife’s supplements’ efficacy.
“The Apraxia Research website purported to provide research and other scientific information relating to the treatment of apraxia. In fact, the website promoted the health benefits of an ‘omega 3/vitamin E speech supplement’ for children and reported ‘Parental Feedback,’ which consisted of testimonials from parents who gave their children a ‘patented omega3/vitamin E speech supplement,'” the FTC says.
The FTC also added in the consumer protection lawsuit complaint that parents and public figures, including Kristen Gonzalez of the Autism Hope Alliance, who endorse the supplements receive complimentary bottles of the product.
NourishLife has faced consumer complaints and legal problems due to false claims before. In 2013, Truth in Advertising complained about false claims made by the supplement manufacturer.
“The problem is that much of what is said in the preceding paragraph about Speak is simply false,” wrote consumer watchdog Truth in Advertising in a letter to the FDA, the FTC and the Illinois Attorney General. “In short, NourishLife uses deceptive advertising tactics to sell a potentially harmful supplement to children with disabilities.”
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