In the Weight Loss Supplement World, “Doctor Recommended” Means Sweet FA!
In my publication “Dirty, Rotten Tricks! Supplement Company Lies That Cost You Money!“, I talk about the “doctor recommended” scam.
Essentially, the word of a medical doctor holds a lot of sway with the general public, so supplement manufacturers and retailers will often do whatever they can to be able to claim that their product is “doctor recommended.”
What they do to make this appear to be the case however, runs from the deceptive to the fraudulent.
- In some cases, they will simply make a doctor up. Yes, seriously. They will grab a picture of a doctor from a stock photography web site like this one, put it on the web site, and say doctor “so and so” endorses their product. Most people won’t bother to check if doctor so-and-so actually exists. This happens ALL the time.
- Pay anyone who is legally entitled to call him/herself a doctor to provide a recommendation for your product, even if that person’s field of expertise is not the slightest bit related to the product in questions.
- Misrepresent yourself as a doctor, as the FTC alleged one of the principals of a supplement company called Basic Research, LLC did back in 2004.
Occasionally however, weight loss supplements are endorsed – or even completely or partially formulated – by a “real” bona fide doctor.
Such is the case with a supplement called Sensa, which we reviewed a few years back in response to numerous people’s inquiries into whether it worked or not. One of the product’s claims to fame was the fact that its effects were apparently backed by a large clinical study conducted by Dr. Allan Hirsch, the product’s inventor.
As you can see if you have a quick peek at our original review, there were serious issues with the study’s methodology, and the study was never actually published in any journal. Not surprising; it doesn’t take a genius to realize that when the same person who has the most to gain from a positive outcome is the same one conducting the study, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.
Moreover, Hirsch greatly exaggerated the extent of his supprt from the scientific community.
Since the product has been on the market, it has had to settle a class action suit for $6 million, and now, the makers of Sensa have been fined $26.5 million by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, because, according to the FTC, they…
“… deceived consumers with unfounded weight-loss claims and misleading endorsements.”
Obviously, it’s very clear what the point of this article is; endorsements from genuine doctors mean next to nothing in the weight loss supplement world. The reality of weight loss is simple; it takes work, and it takes time. There is no magic pill. No one likes to hear this, so we’re eager to believe it when someone credible – like a doctor – tells us that there is.
But that doesn’t change the fact of the matter.
As ever, buyer beware!