Canadian company sued for defrauding thousands of u.s. consumers of dietary supplements
Contact: David A. Barry Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. (617) 227-3030 [email protected] CANADIAN COMPANY SUED FOR DEFRAUDING THOUSANDS OF U.S. CONSUMERS OF DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS BOSTON, September 16, 2008 – Consumers in sixteen states have filed lawsuits against Canadian company Wellnx Life Sciences, which markets and sells three dietary supplements throughout the United States, and against its owners and senior managers, Derek Woodgate, Brad Woodgate and Scott Welch. The cases, which are pending in federal courts and consolidated in U.S. District Court in Boston, accuse Wellnx and its owners of deceiving consumers with false claims about what was in its products and their ability to cause “rapid weight loss.” The suit claims that Wellnx, based in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, marketed and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of “Slimquick,” “NV,” and “Liquid Hoodia,” to thousands of unsuspecting women lured into believing the products would help them lose weight. The supposed key ingredients in the herbal remedies are green tea and Hoodia Gordonii, which Wellnx claimed would induce rapid weight loss. The suit alleges that Wellnx’s weight- loss claims are false and are not supported by science. “Thousands of American women have put their faith in these supposed cures for obesity,” said David Barry of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. in Boston, one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs. “Our clients were misled and cheated out of millions of dollars when Wellnx lied about what was in its products and what they would do to help them lose weight. We are going to see that these consumers are justly compensated and that Wellnx stops making dishonest claims regarding these dietary supplements.”
Barry and three other lawyers in the suit argue that many of the supplements sold by Wellnx contain little or none of the ingredients that were represented to promote rapid weight loss. The plaintiffs say they took random samples of “Slimquick,” “NV,” and “Liquid Hoodia” from various stores around the country to an independent testing lab and found that some samples contained none of the purported weight-loss ingredients claimed and that other samples had just trace quantities, too low to have any effect on weight loss.
The substances are widely advertised in women’s magazines and other media, and make bold claims of being the “Women’s Weight Loss” remedy. However, several clinical studies of the key ingredient in Slimquick and NV, green tea extract, concluded that ingestion of green tea, especially in small amounts, does not cause significant weight loss.
The marketing of the products included widespread use of “transformations” depicting the before and after appearance of allegedly independent consumers who were “skeptical” of the weight loss promises of the products but claimed huge weight loss in a short period – as many as 36 - 45 pounds in two months of taking the product. Plaintiffs claim these “transformations” did not occur with the use of the Wellnx products over that time. In some instances, the wives or girlfriends of the senior managers at Wellnx played the role of the skeptical, independent consumer but these relationships were not disclosed to consumers. The suit also claims that in some cases these “consumers” did not use the products at all.
“Thousands of consumers just lost money when they wanted to lose weight,” Barry said. “It’s time for Wellnx not only to compensate those consumers, but to halt its deceptive practices for the good of the public as a whole.”
The case is MDL NO. 07-md-1861 (RGS) ALL CASES In Re: Wellnx Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation
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