Wyoming substantiation case sets the bar high for testing

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Oct 31, 2016 | 0 Comments

Wyoming substantiation case sets the bar high for testing

This past September, in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) won a case against a company, and its owner in a case where the FTC alleged that the company made unfounded claims that its products could prevent or reverse gray hair. The resulting judgment against the company gives additional insight into the FTC's approach to substantiating marketing claims. The heart of the judgment prohibits the company (and its owner) from making any representations that its supplements would reverse, prevent or help protect against grey hair or cure any disease unless the company possesses and relies upon "competent and reliable scientific evidence" substantiating that the representation is true.

In explaining what is meant by "competent and reliable scientific evidence" the judgment sets the bar very high. It describes "competent and reliable scientific evidence" as consisting of human clinical testing of the product that is "sufficient in quality and quantity, based on standards generally accepted by experts in the relevant disease, condition, or function to which the representation relates, when considered in light of the entire body of relevant and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate that the representation is true. Such testing shall be: (1) randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled; and (2) conducted by researchers qualified by training and experience to conduct such testing."

The detail of scientific proof that the FTC contends is required for substantiation eliminates less rigorous scientific testing and the pseudo-scientific testing or assertions that is seen in support of the health claims made about supplements and other dietary products.

The case is Federal Trade Commission v. COORGA Nutraceuticals Corp.

If you are in need of assistance in meeting the substantiation claims, please feel free to contact Harmony Law for assistance.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins started his career as a lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming. First gaining experience as a law clerk for the district court judges, Mr. Hutchins entered private practice with a Cheyenne firm focused on civil litigation, business law and some general practice law. Later, Mr. Hutchins went to Alaska, where he was the chief litigator for a firm that engaged in bond law, corporate law, securities law, and the broad reach of municipal law. Mr. Hutchins returned to Cheyenne to represent the State of Wyoming in the national tobacco arbitration. While in that position, he developed the consumer protection unit for the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. He led over 120 investigations and enforcement actions in Wyoming and worked on numerous joint cases with the Federal Trade Commission and other states, including Colorado. Mr. Hutchins relocated to Colorado in 2016 and founded Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins has established Harmony Law in three principal areas of law. First, it is a general practice firm in the areas of business law, estate planning and family law. Secondly, it is a civil litigation firm, practicing law in state and federal courts throughout Wyoming and Colorado. Finally, it is one of the few firms in Wyoming or Colorado that focuses on consumer protection law.


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Harmony Law is one of the few law firms in Colorado and Wyoming that focuses on consumer law. Mr. Hutchins is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and state chair for Wyoming. If you have a consumer law issue, please feel free to call 970-488-1857 and speak with Mr. Hutchins.

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