Lunada’s websites and other advertisements pitched the capsules using female announcers saying things like: “Amberen restores hormonal balance naturally, so the weight can just fall right off. Even that stubborn belly fat.” They also claimed that Amberen is “the ONLY product on the market today clinically proven to cause sustained weight loss for women over 40.”
According to the FTC’s complaint, however, a clinical trial conducted in 2001 by the Russian scientists who developed the Amberen formula, used a double dose of Amberen and did not specifically measure weight loss; a subsequent clinical study failed to show a statistically significant difference in weight loss between the test and control groups.
The FTC also charges that the defendants falsely claimed a consumer satisfaction and success rate of 93 percent and failed to disclose their relationship with certain endorsers, including one who blogged about the benefits of the supplement.
The complaint further alleges that the defendants falsely claimed that consumers could try Amberen “risk-free” for 30 days, through statements such as, “You can try Amberen absolutely risk FREE and get a one month supply FREE.” In fact, customers were provided a ninety-day supply of Amberen and to qualify for a refund, consumers had to return two unopened product boxes at their own expense, within 30 days of placing the order. Moreover, in many cases consumers were not reimbursed the shipping and handling charges they had paid when they ordered the product.
Defendants named in the case include: Lunada Biomedical, Inc.; Donna Kasseinova, individually and as an officer of Lunada Biomedical; Roman Trunin, individually and as an officer of Lunada Biomedical; and Emil Arutyunov, also known as Emil Chiaberi, individually and as an officer of Lunada Biomedical.
The Commission vote approving the complaint was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
May 12, 2015
Information for Consumers
Consumers should carefully evaluate advertising claims for weight-loss products. For more information, see the FTC’s guidance for consumers of products and services advertised for Weight Loss & Fitness.
The FTC is a member of the National Prevention Council, which provides coordination and leadership at the federal level regarding prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices. This case advances the National Prevention Strategy’s goal of increasing the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.
To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant
or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
Shira D. Modell
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Michael J. Davis
Bureau of Consumer Protection