Prevagen Lawsuit Dissected: What it Means for Supplement Brands

HomePrevagen Lawsuit Dissected: What it Means for Supplement Brands

Prevagen Lawsuit Dissected: What it Means for Supplement Brands

By Will Cartwright | | 1 Comment | 29 November, 2017

Recently, the New York State Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission charged marketers of Prevagen with making false label claims and unsubstantiated claims about their product. These claims included cognitive benefits and improvement of memory.

Marketers also claimed that the product was "clinically shown" to be effective. Because these claims may not be true, the brandss of this supplement could face significant legal trouble. This situation sheds lights on the importance of careful research and marketing for every supplement brands.

About Prevagen

Prevagen is a supplement marketed to consumers looking to improve cognitive function and reduce memory loss associated with age.  It contains a protein derived from jellyfish. Marketers developed extensive national advertising campaigns for this product in order to improve sales. In fact, the product has been featured on NBC. Fox News and CNN. This campaign included charts that showed a dramatic improvement in memory among consumers who took Prevagen

About the Prevagen Lawsuit

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The plaintiffs in the Prevagen lawsuit claim marketers relied on a study that didn't actually show any cognitive benefits of Prevagen.

In fact, they say the study failed to show that Prevagen was any more effective than a placebo.

Making false claims about a supplement is considered fraud, and the situation is even more serious because of the brands's target demographic: vulnerable senior citizens concerned about memory loss. Thus, the plaintiffs demand a refund for consumers who purchased the product. 

In light of this evidence, the New York State Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission have charged several corporate defendants, including Quincy Bioscience Manufacturing, LLC; Prevagen, Inc.; Quincy Bioscience, LLC; and Quincy Bioscience Holding Company, Inc. The two co-founders of the company, President Mark Underwood and CEO Michael Beaman, were also charged. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The makers of Prevagen acknowledge that the study doesn't show an improvement in cognitive function that is statistically significant overall. However, statistically significant improvements were present in some subgroups. In September 2017, a federal judge reviewed the complaint and the response from the defendants. He ultimately dismissed the lawsuit, which was seen as a victory for the makers of Prevagen. Nonetheless, the Federal Trade Commission filed a notice of appeal in November, which will likely lead to further litigation. 

Lessons for Supplement brandss

Even though it isn't settled yet, the Prevagen lawsuit still has some important implications for supplement brandss. The primary complaint against the brandss had nothing to do with the safety of the supplement, but instead focuses on its efficiency.

The studies Prevagen makers relied on to make their claims about the benefits of this supplement were controversial, leading to a debate over whether the supplement could really deliver what it promised. From this situation, supplement brandss can learn several lessons:

1. Don't make false claims. 

When marketing supplements, you should never make any claims that aren't supported by research. Doing so can lead to serious legal problems, a damaged reputation and even financial ruin. 

marketing nutritional supplements


2. Use reputable studies. 

Even if you have a study that demonstrates the efficacy of your supplement, you may still be in trouble if the study isn't reputable. Use only high-quality research, and don't rely on a single study. 

3. Work with the right people. 

The partners you choose to rely on as you manufacture, market and sell your supplements can cause you legal trouble if they don't perform their services properly. For example, if your supplement brands is using poor quality ingredients or doesn't have a good quality control protocol, your supplements may not provide the benefits you have promised. For this reason, finding the right partners is essential. 

ABH Pharma has a reputation for providing high-quality supplements with a variety of formulation and packaging options. Contact us today to learn more!


Will Cartwright

Written by Will Cartwright

Will is a master of digital marketing in the vitamins & supplements space. He has years experience selling supplements on Google, self-hosted websites, Amazon, Facebook and much more. CLICK HERE to learn more about how Will can help your nutraceutical brand dominate digital marketing.

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