FTC enforcement action against Prevagen reinstated

Posted 25 September 2019

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District has ruled that the FTC and New York Attorney General can continue their suit against the promoters of the widely advertised “memory supplement” Prevagen. In January 2017, the agencies charged the marketers with making false and unsubstantiated claims that the product improves memory, provides cognitive benefits, and is “clinically shown” to work.
Reference: FTC, New York State charge the marketers of Prevagen with making deceptive memory, cognitive Improvement claims: Widely advertised supplement touted to improve memory in 90 days. FTC news release, Jan 9, 2017

In September 2017, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the complaint after ruling that it was too speculative. However, in February 2019, the appellate court vacated the dismissal and returned it to the lower court for further consideration. The key issue in the case is whether or not the non-peer-reviewed study upon which Prevagen’s marketers relied was statistically valid. Prevagen’s supposedly active ingredient is a protein called “apoaequorin,” which is easily digested and thus unavailable to act on the brain.
Reference: Schwarcz J. Prevagen for mental clarity? McGill University Office for Science and Society. Jan 14, 2019 has an archive of documents associated with its investigations of the marketing of Prevagen.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #19-38, September 22, 2019

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