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A new lawsuit by two government agencies accused the company behind dietary supplement Prevagen of misleading its customers.  The lawsuit was filed Monday by the New York Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission against Prevagen maker Quincy Bioscience.  The Associate Press reported that the lawsuit seeks a ban on further claims about the product’s effectiveness, refunds for consumers and civil penalties.

According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Prevagen is marked as being “clinically shown” to support “clearer thinking” and to “improve memory within 90 days”, but those claims are based primarily on a single study that did not show a statistically significant improvement in memory.  Quincy Bioscience says the pills contain a protein derived from jellyfish – one they claim helps improve brain function – but government officials say those claims just don’t add up.

A bottle of Prevagen can cost as much as $69.  According to the government, from 2007 to 2015, Americans bought $165 million worth.  The memory boosting supplement is sold at different retailers like Amazon, Walgreens, Vitamin Shoppe and CVS.

Attorney General Schneiderman said he believes that aggressive marketing targets a vulnerable group: older Americans.  Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a formal announcement “The marketers of Prevagen preyed on the fears of older consumers experiencing age-related memory loss.  The claims in the ads, according to the FTC “are deceptive”.  She added that one thing the manufacturers of Prevagen seemed to have forgotten is that scientific evidence must back up their claims.

Back in 2012, the FDA sent Quincy a warning letter about the supplement’s make-up and marketing.  The FDA conducted inspections at two locations belonging to Quincy’s parent company just this past October and November.  The agency declined to comment further because “the matter remains open.”

In a statement posted on its website, Quincy Bioscience denies any wrongdoing.  “Quincy Bioscience will vigorously defend ourselves”, the firm’s response concludes.

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