Once he was dubbed the Supplement King, but that was before his prison stints, the recalls, federal seizures and the $40 million judgment. Not to be defeated, Norcross CEO Jared Wheat is back touting a "revolutionary" weight-loss product while he is fending off more legal challenges.
A news release says a multi-million-dollar ad campaign is being launched to promote Fastin Rapid Release®, which is said to represent a "quantum leap in the field of weight loss." The product is made with technology that allows for an "immediate burst of active ingredients, providing rapid onset of explosive energy and thermogenesis," the new release claims.
Meanwhile, Wheat's Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is facing at least two lawsuits over what it said or didn't say about some of its other supplements sold to promote weight loss.
A federal lawsuit in Missouri accuses Hi-Tech of selling a weight-loss product the company advertised as "probably the cleanest stimulant ever created" without mentioning that one ingredient, DMAA, was "both illegal and dangerous." The woman who filed the lawsuit says that after taking the product for 12 days, she wound up in the hospital. In response, Hi-Tech admitted that the product, Fastin, contains DMAA but denied it was dangerous or that the company failed to provide adequate warning.
Also pending is a purported class-action lawsuit out of Florida claiming customers were deceived into purchasing a Hi-Tech product advertised as a revolutionary fat burner. "Defendant, unapologetically and with no remorse, boasts about the efficacy of the Product's main active ingredient, Garcinia Cambogia, despite substantial scientific literature strong refuting the claims of fat burning, weight loss, and appetite suppression," the suit claims. The judge dismissed the suit because it didn't provide facts to support the claim that thousands of people could have been affected. But his order gave the plaintiff until April 15 to provide such facts.
Adding to the legal woes, a few days ago an Arizona supplement maker sued Wheat, his Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and retailers that carry Hi-Tech products. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court here, alleges patent infringement. Hi-Tech is promoting the products with claims such as "skin-splitting vascularity and insane pumps." Wheat hasn't filed a response yet.
Past advertising claims about the weight-loss potential of Hi-Tech products got Hi-Tech in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission and led to a 2008 court order for Wheat and other defendants to pay almost $16 million. And after AJC reporter Danny Robbins reported that Hi-Tech was using the banned ingredient DMAA in some of its dietary supplements, the FDA seized $2 million worth of products from the company's Norcross warehouse.
By the way, here's the FDA's guidance on weight-loss products.