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 its www.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.
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