Competition Bureau protects consumers from the potential harm of NuvoCare's weight loss claims
May 13, 2020 - GATINEAU, QC - Competition Bureau
Following legal action by the Competition Bureau, NuvoCare Health Sciences Inc. and its President and CEO Ryan Foley have agreed to enter into a temporary consent agreement that prohibits them from making unsubstantiated weight loss and fat burning claims in the marketing of certain natural health products, including ‘WeightOFF Max!’ and ‘Forskolin Nx’. The agreement will prevent potential harm to consumers while the Bureau completes its ongoing investigation into whether NuvoCare’s marketing claims are based on adequate and proper testing.
The Bureau took action in March 2020, asking the Competition Tribunal to issue a Temporary Order prohibiting NuvoCare and Mr. Foley from making performance claims that are not based on adequate and proper testing. The parties agreed to enter into an agreement on the eve of the hearing before the Tribunal. The agreement contains substantially all the terms sought in the Bureau’s application for a Temporary Order.
If the Bureau concludes that the weight loss claims are unsubstantiated, false or misleading, it may file an application under the Competition Act before the Competition Tribunal. Those found by the Tribunal to be making false or misleading representations or engaging in deceptive marketing practices may be subject to various sanctions, including financial penalties.
The Bureau will continue to investigate and take action against deceptive marketing practices in the traditional and online marketplaces. The Bureau strongly encourages consumers who believe they have been misled to file a complaint.
“We will continue to take swift action against businesses that try to take advantage of Canadians by making unsubstantiated claims about health and medical products. Once the consent agreement comes into force, it will protect consumers from potential harm while we complete our ongoing investigation.”
Commissioner of Competition
NuvoCare’s potentially problematic claims were made despite a warning the Bureau issued in February 2019 calling on all sellers and marketers of natural health products in Canada to review their advertising and ensure that weight loss claims are not false, misleading or unsubstantiated.
The Temporary Consent Agreement will remain in effect until the Bureau’s investigation is resolved by an agreement with NuvoCare or a decision of the Competition Tribunal.
Health Canada provided support of immense value to the Bureau’s investigation. Health Canada is responsible for the licensing and regulation of natural health products in accordance with Canada's Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.
Under the Competition Act, claims about the performance or efficacy of a product must be based on adequate and proper testing, which must be conducted before the claims are made.
- Competition Bureau takes action to stop weight loss claims by seller of 'WeightOFF Max!' and 'Forskolin Nx'
- A copy of the Temporary Consent Agreement will be available shortly on the Competition Tribunal Web site
- Possible penalties for false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices
- Competition Bureau complaint form
- Weight loss claims must be true and supported by testing
- Canada's Food and Drugs Act and Regulations
- Performance representations not based on adequate and proper tests
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