We've all heard and seen the ads, promising quick and substantial weight-loss if only you take this pill, drink this shake, use this device, or apply this cream. All without adjusting diet or increasing physical activity.
It seems too good to be true - and of course it is.
As Chairman of the Senate's panel on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, I led a hearing this week aimed at weight-loss diet scams, which are costing consumers billions every year and lining the pockets of scam artists. I have heard from dozens of Missourians in just the past year about the proliferation of these frauds.
My colleagues and I posed tough questions to TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz on some of his frequent claims about "miracle" products. We explored options for regulators and industry to crack down on deceptive practices, and we urged media outlets to strengthen screening of false advertising.
Unfortunately, this problem isn't new. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed its first weight-loss case in 1927, when McGowan's "Reducine" claimed in True Romance magazine that "excess fat is literally dissolved away, leaving the figure slim and properly rounded, giving the lithe grace to the body every man and woman desires." Since then, the FTC has filed more than 250 cases challenging false and unproven weight-loss claims, including four settlements announced in January and a complaint filed in federal court last month against sellers of a Green Coffee Bean dietary supplement (a product we discussed at length in our hearing).
I won't let up in my fight to protect consumers from abuses, and crack down on scam artists. Do you have a scam I should investigate? If so, visit my website at www.McCaskill.senate.gov and click the "Submit Your Scam" button.