Fruit Drink Company Suffers From Crippling Lawsuit

Earlier this year, a heavily marketed drink called "Nopalea" has recently been sued for making unsubstantiated claims about its health benefits3. The wellness drink has been advertised on TV infomercials, on the web, and with print ads claiming that the drink will get rid of all kinds of ailments ranging from fibromialga to arthritis to ulcers to breathing problems.

This lawsuit is part of a FTC initiative to moderate such marketing. Trivita, the company which sells Nopalea settled the lawsuit at 3.5 Million dollars. I have very mixed feelings about this case. First of all, I think that the Nopalea product is not significantly any better for your health than say, a fruit smoothie. The ingredient list features a whole blend of fruit ingredients and extracts (not organic) and certainly should cost less than ten dollars. It's ordinarily 40 bucks a bottle when you order over the phone, and when used as directed it normally costs hundreds per month.

I don't know if I like the fact that Trivita had to pay out money while many companies all over are making even more ridiculous claims for even less effective products. Take for example, "Marine D3" which is essentially a type of processed squid oil with vitamins added.

This type of advertising campaign is very common.

My biggest gripe is really with Trivita's whole sales strategy. The health benefits may or may not be true, but they definitely are grossly exaggerated. They have this elaborate marketing scheme which puts pressure on the customers to get on an incredibly expensive monthly automatic shipment program. They use the bait and switch tactic by introducing new customers to the product in a way that suggests they only need to pay 9.95 to get started, when in reality it costs hundreds of dollars to get any real results.

One question I have is, if the product is at least partially effective, should companies like this still be getting sued for making the claims? As a website manager and small business owner, the idea of getting sued is a rather unsettling topic. I feel like this lawsuit is fundamentally driven by the pharmaceutical industry. Did you know it's illegal to make health claims offering cures and solutions to diseases? They leave that to the doctors with their overwhelmingly transparent pharmaceutical bias. Not to say that doctors and pharmaceuticals are always bad, but when a natural alternative exists, shouldn't that be the official go-to option as opposed to dangerous unnatural chemicals?

A great article posted to discusses the motivation behind the new legislation that allows for such a lawsuit to occur. According to this source,

"The new language serves to expand bureaucratic authority on the part of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate health claims on dietary supplements in such a way as to greatly increase cost."12

Yes, Nopalea's marketing scheme exists somewhere in the grey areas of the law, but pharmaceuticals too are nearly always overpriced, and instead of being stuck on automatic billings and shipments, the customers become unavoidably addicted to and dependent on many of these medicines! The absurdly high costs of rather cheaply produced meds can be ridiculous. When folks use our programs such as medicare to cover the costs of these meds, the American taxpayer is really paying for it. The physically and mentally sick people who become increasingly dependent on big pharma become customers for life until death do them part. They are forever sucked into a lifestyle which drains the medical spending power from our healthcare systems.

The Nopalea settlement of 3.5m leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. While I don't respect Nopalea's rather underhanded tactics, I do respect the concept that natural is better than unnatural, and perhaps forcing Nopalea to change some of its strategies without suing the company for 3.5m would have been more appropriate. On a final note, If you're thinking of buying this product, my recommendation would be to instead invest in a high quality food processor or maybe a blender for less than the price of your first month's supply of Nopalea. Using this, you could use local and organic ingredients with no preservatives to make highly effective and affordable antioxidant drinks for life!
1Life Extention, Bill Faloon, 04/14/2015. 2Federal Trade Commission, Unidentified, 04/14/2015. 3Federal Trade Commission, Nicholas M May (General Council), 04/14/2015.

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article posted to Relentless Truth by AscendedPost on Thu 10:38pm 12/04/14
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It seems the product itself being the crux of their endeavor, the advertisement is what they are truly selling. Hence the grasping for additional payments from the get go.
Sun 11:45pm 04/12/15 [reply]
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Thu 03:51am 04/23/15
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