Testimony offered in a federal trial in Ohio against Berkeley Nutriceuticals has disclosed that the company faked data regarding the effectiveness of its sexual enhancement product, Enzyte. When I previously wrote about this trial, https://www.alaskainjurylawblog.com/2008/01/dietary_supplement_company_fac.html, I fully expected to hear that such evidence had been uncovered. The diet supplement industry is virtually unregulated, and manufacturers are not required to provide scientific data or obtain pre-market approval for their products before they are placed on the market. Borrowing a page from the playbook of ephedra manufacturers, supplement manufacturers like Berkeley often go even further to make up data to show that their products are safe and supposedly work. Such faked data can be very effective in bilking consumers out of millions. I encountered this unfortunate fact in the litigation the Alaska Injury Law Group brought in Talbert v. E’ola Products, Inc., the first successful jury trial brought against an ephedra manufacturer.
James Teagarden, VP of Operations at Berkeley, testified that the company created fictitious doctors to endorse the pills, faked a customer satisfaction survey, and made up data to back up claims about Enzyte’s effectiveness. He also testified that the company’s president, Steve Warshak, was intimately involved in the fraud.
In addition to the fraudulent data, the company’s first-time customers were automatically enrolled in a “continuity program” that sent them Enzyte every month and charged their credit cards without authorization. If customers complained, employees were instructed to “make it as difficult as possible” for them to get their money back.