FTC Press Release - July 6, 2016: Sellers of At-Home Treatment for Opioid Withdrawal and Addiction Barred from Making Deceptive Claims
The marketers of Elimidrol, a powdered drink mix touted as enabling opiate-addicted consumers to overcome addiction and withdrawal, have settled an FTC complaint that their claims were false and misleading.
The proposed stipulated order requires Sunrise Nutraceuticals, LLC, and its principal, Joshua Erickson, to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up claims for opiate-treatment products, bars deceptive claims for any health-related products, and requires them to pay $235,000 as redress or disgorgement.
“Opiate addiction has taken a tremendous toll on the American public,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “By peddling their unproven product, these defendants have prevented people from seeking legitimate treatment.”
In a complaint filed in November 2015, the FTC charged that Sunrise Nutraceuticals, LLC, deceptively claimed that Elimidrol, a powder containing vitamins, minerals, and herbs, alleviates opiate withdrawal symptoms to enable consumers to overcome withdrawal and also increases consumers’ likelihood of overcoming opiate addiction. On January 8, 2016, the FTC voted 4-0 to add Joshua Erickson as a defendant in the case.
Sunrise Nutraceuticals, of Boca Raton, Florida, ran advertising on the Internet, including itswww.elimidrol.com website, allegedly targeting opiate-dependent consumers with claims that Elimidrol has a “high success rate . . . in overcoming opiate withdrawal” and “turns up the chances of a successful recovery.”
The company’s ads claimed that Elimidrol will help users “permanently overcome withdrawal – the first time” and “leave addiction behind permanently.” Sunrise also claimed that “Elimidrol is the difference between just another failed attempt and lifelong success.” The FTC charged that these claims were not substantiated.
The proposed stipulated court order prohibits Erickson and Sunrise Nutraceuticals from making claims regarding the treatment of opiate dependence, addiction, or withdrawal, unless they have competent and reliable human clinical testing to support such claims. The defendants also must have such testing to support claims that a product cures, mitigates, or treats any other disease, including claims relating to other substance use disorders. In addition, the defendants must have competent and reliable scientific evidence for efficacy claims for any health-related product.
Finally, the proposed order imposes a judgment of $1,398,037, with all but $235,000 suspended based on the defendants’ ability to pay. If they are later found to have misrepresented their financial condition, the entire judgment will become due.
The FTC is a member of the National Prevention Council, which provides coordination and leadership at the federal level regarding prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices. This case is part of the FTC’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from misleading health advertising and advances the National Prevention Council’s goal of increasing the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The FTC thanks the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its assistance.
The Commission vote approving the stipulated final judgment and order was 3-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Division. NOTE: Stipulated final orders are subject to court approval and have the force of law when signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).