MONTEREY, Calif. (KION-TV)-- The company Health Alert/Immune Systems, Inc., based in Monterey, will be made to pay $1.5 million in civil penalties and costs for false advertisement and the unlicensed practice of medicine against senior citizens.
The company will be forced to close permanently and can no longer do business in California, according to Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni.
A complaint filed by the DA's Office said the company made false and misleading advertisements with the dietary supplements they sold over social media, their monthly advertising periodical titled “Health Alert – When All Other Treatments Fail,” and the former website www.healthalert.com.
The company claimed the supplements could treat and prevent diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. None of these claims were backed by any reasonable or scientific basis, according to Pacioni.
"It is unlawful to advertise that a dietary supplement has a specific curative or therapeutic effect on cancer, diabetes, heart, and vascular disease, and high blood pressure, among other diseases and conditions, unless such claims have been preapproved and cleared for marketing for that specific curative or therapeutic effect by the FDA," said Pacioni.
The complaint also alleged that Bruce West referred to himself as a "doctor" through his advertisements, even though he was not a medical doctor. The lawsuit also said West gave patients medical advice without having a license or qualifications to do so, according to Pacioni.
This was an example of an ad:
“FACT: Dr. West has helped more heart patients than any other doctor in America, including big-name cardiologists;” as well as “Dr. West has used [supplements] to treat people with a broad range of health problems, including individuals who were at death’s door;” and “[Bruce West] has helped and cured more patients than any other physician or doctor of any kind, living or dead.”