FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 18, 2014
Attorney General Asks Judge to Order Supplement Company to Halt Iowa Sales, Respond to Consumer Fraud Investigation
In recorded telemarketing call, Au Naturale Health Solutions claims phytoplankton pills treat or cure “over 500 different health problems,” including cancer
(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller today asked an Iowa judge to order a Las Vegas-based health supplement company to halt its Iowa sales and comply with a consumer fraud investigation over the company’s telemarketing claims, including that one of its products cures cancer.
In court documents filed in Polk County District Court, Miller requested an injunction barring Iowa telemarketing by Au Naturale Health Solutions, CEO Gerri Bronstein, and two company employees.
In December, the Consumer Protection Division recorded three telemarketing calls the company placed to what telemarketers thought was an older Iowan. The telemarketers called to sell “clinical grade” phytoplankton capsules. Phytoplankton are microscopic plant-like underwater organisms.
A company telemarketer claimed that the phytoplankton capsules would help with, or even fully reverse, more than 500 conditions and afflictions, including arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, “and even cancer.” The telemarketer added, “We’re not supposed to say cure for cancer, but my wife is a survivor definitely because of the marine phytoplankton.”
The company sells phytoplankton capsules, liquid oxygen drops and a tropical fruit extract, all priced at $129 per bottle on its website.
After capturing the three calls, in February Miller’s office served the company and the three individuals with an investigative subpoena, called a civil investigative demand. The Consumer Protection Division sought information and documents regarding the company, its products, and its Iowa customers.
According to Miller, a company representative initially promised to provide the information requested, and then requested a delay—but provided no response by the extended deadline.
“Iowa law requires that companies making extraordinary claims for their products be able to substantiate those claims,” Miller said. “We’re asking a judge to order the company to follow the law by answering our questions, and to bar its telemarketers from calling on Iowans until they’ve done so.”
Tips to Avoid Health Fraud Scams
Avoid risking your money – or even your health – on bogus health remedies:
- Those who try to profit from health fraud scams often make claims about preventing, treating or curing various ailments and conditions, and they promote other purported benefits. Claims often involve weight loss, “anti-aging,” arthritis, sexual enhancement, body building, and even life-threatening conditions such as cancer.
- Beware of marketers that trumpet a “miracle cure,” “scientific breakthrough,” “new discovery” and any product that claims a “secret ingredient.”
- Get advice from trusted health professionals who know you and are best situated to evaluate the best treatments for you—particularly if you are currently taking prescription medication.
- With health fraud as with other consumer frauds, if it sounds too good to be true, it is almost certainly not true.
- Some fraudulent health care products can do much more than harm your wallet—they can harm your health. Serious conditions like cancer, diabetes & HIV require individualized treatments by a physician. Unproven products and treatments can be dangerous, and may cause harmful or even life-threatening delays in getting the proper diagnosis and appropriate treatments.
For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Consumer Protection Division through the Attorney General’s website at www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov or email directly to email@example.com. Consumers can also call the Consumer Protection Division at 515-281-5926, or outside the Des Moines area, toll free, at 1-888-777-4590.
Edited audio file of two Au Naturale calls:
Transcripts of three Au Naturale calls: