Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Learn to read between the lines

Sometimes is funny how a scam-artist can become really goofy when sued by the government.

Hi-health, a shady company that sells pills, has long been advertising a product they call "ocular nutrition". This product is basically a multivitamin, nothing more. The manufacturer (advertising on nationally syndicated radio programs, like Paul Harvey) has historically made the most outrageous claims about this product. They claimed that it could cure age-related macular degeneration, remove "floaters" from vision, and even cure cataracts.

Well, they were sued, and they settled out of court by paying the FTC a $450,000 fine. A slap-on the wrist, IMO, but that's not the point of this article.

After the FTC fine, Hi-health did not stop selling ocular nutrition. They still advertise it on Paul Harvey's program, but now their product claims are much weaker. They now point out the fact that, in controlled studies, 25% of the people using it found the progress of their macular degeneration had halted or slowed.

In other words, 75% of the people taking it saw no effect or saw their degeneration progress faster! It doesn't take very much intelligence to see what they're really saying, but it does require you to pay attention and think about what was said.

Unfortunately, the elderly population - who this ad is targeted at - generally do not think critically when it comes to scam-artists promising miracle cures. And when the message comes from a friendly voice, like Paul Harvey (who actually reads the ad-copy during his broadcasts), they will tend to trust it more than if it was a random ad prepared by an ad agency.

If you know someone who is considering (or actually using) ocular nutrition, please show them this article, the FTC statement, and have them get real advice from an ophthalmologist. At best, they are throwing their money away. At worst, they may be making themselves sick, from overdose and possible drug-interactions.

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