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Utah firm to pay $400,000 to settle charges of false diet advertising

Published: Friday, Oct. 6 2000 10:16 a.m. MDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Utah company has agreed to pay $400,000 for making false advertising claims about the effectiveness and safety of the dietary supplement PhenCal, the government announced Thursday.

The Federal Trade Commission charged that Weider Nutrition International Inc., of Salt Lake City, made unsubstantiated claims in ads that its products were safe and would cause permanent weight loss.

Weider has sold PhenCal as an alternative to the combination of prescription diet drugs known as fen-phen.

FTC spokeswoman Brenda Mack said the "substantial amount of money" paid by Weider would go to the U.S. Treasury or be refunded to consumers who purchased the products and can show they deserve compensation.

A Weider spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The agreement also prohibits Weider from continuing to make false claims and requires the company to have adequate scientific evidence in future ads. By agreeing to the settlement, Weider doesn't admit it broke any law.

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