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FTC Requires GeneLink, Subsidiary to Stop Making Insomnia Treatment Claims

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Two marketers of genetically customized nutritional supplements have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges of deceptive advertising for claims that their personalized nutritional supplements treat insomnia, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other ailments. Through a network of individual affiliates, GeneLink Inc and its former subsidiary, foruTM International Corp, marketed nutritional supplements and a skin care product that were purportedly customized to each consumer’s unique genetic profile–based on an assessment of the DNA obtained from a cheek swab provided by the consumer. The supplements and skin repair serum each cost more than $100 per month.

The administrative complaint alleges that GeneLink and foru violated the FTC Act by making false or unsupported health claims about their genetically customized products. Company-approved marketing materials included claims that the customized nutritional supplements could compensate for an individual’s genetic disadvantages, and that the customized skin repair serum’s effectiveness was scientifically proven. The companies also claimed through testimonials that the customized nutritional supplements could treat conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and insomnia.

The proposed settlements also resolve charges that the companies engaged in lax information security practices.