Competition Bureau resolves its concerns in misleading weight loss claims case

News release

April 27, 2022 – GATINEAU, QC – Competition Bureau

A Competition Bureau investigation concluded that NuvoCare Health Sciences Inc. and founder, Ryan Foley, made marketing claims that gave the false or misleading impression that their products have been proven to cause weight loss. The Bureau found that their claims were not supported by adequate and proper testing.

The Bureau resolved its concerns through a consent agreement reached with NuvoCare and Ryan Foley, that will prevent both from making false, misleading or unsupported marketing claims to consumers about products they market for weight loss.  

As part of this settlement, NuvoCare and Ryan Foley agreed to:

  • pay $100,000 in total penalties
  • change or remove all weight loss claims made about their products
  • establish and maintain a corporate compliance program to promote compliance with the law and prevent deceptive marketing issues in the future

NuvoCare’s claims promoted the WeightOFF Max!, Forskolin+ and Forskolin Nx, among other products, and were made on labels and packaging, web platforms, social media, magazines, emails and at expos.

NuvoCare’s products are licenced by Health Canada to make certain claims, but not to make weight loss claims.

The settlement registered with the Competition Tribunal has the force of a court order and will be binding for a period of 10 years.

Quotes

“All sellers and marketers of natural health products in Canada should review their advertising and ensure that any weight loss claims are not false, misleading or unsubstantiated. The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to crack down on businesses that lure consumers with false or exaggerated promises about the properties of their health products.”

-Matthew Boswell         
Commissioner of Competition

Quick facts

  • The Competition Bureau can take action to address any false, misleading or unsubstantiated health claims if the general impression they create goes beyond what Health Canada has specifically approved.

  • The Competition Act prohibits businesses and individual from making false or misleading claims to promote a product, service or business interest, including claims in electronic messages. In addition, 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.

  • In February 2019, the Competition Bureau issued a warning 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.

  • In May 2020, the Bureau and NuvoCare entered into a temporary consent agreement that prohibited the company from making certain weight loss related claims while the Bureau completed its investigation.

  • In January 2022, the Federal Court of Canada issued an order requiring NuvoCare to produce records and information relevant to the Bureau’s investigation.

  • The Bureau strongly encourages anyone who suspects that a company or individual is making deceptive marketing claims to report it by using our online complaint form.

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The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that protects and promotes competition for the benefit of Canadian consumers and businesses. Competition drives lower prices and innovation while fueling economic growth.

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