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Anxiety Drugs

Unapproved Anxiety Drugs Harm Consumers

Many Americans have reported experiencing increased levels of anxiety since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to a decline in one’s quality of life and result in various physical health problems. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone suffering from anxiety or other mental health disorders speak with their doctor or pharmacist and receive proper medical treatment. Unfortunately, many people opt to use unapproved anxiety medications and later suffer from physical, mental, and other injuries that leave them with permanent damage.

If you believe that your use of an anxiety drug may have exposed you to health risks, you should speak with a California dietary supplement lawyer and explore your legal options.

FDA Issues Warning About Use of Unapproved Drugs to Treat Anxiety

On February 19, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release warning that under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, “products intended to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease are drugs and are subject to the requirements that apply to drugs, even if they are labeled as dietary supplements.” When it comes to products that have not been approved by the FDA, there are no evaluations with regard to certain factors like:

  • Whether the drugs are effective for their intended use.
  • The proper dosage.
  • How the drugs might interact with FDA-approved drugs.
  • Whether there may be side effects or health concerns.

Anxiety Disorders Affect Millions of Americans

While some anxiety might be considered normal, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) maintains that there is a significant difference between anxiety disorders and more normal feelings of nervousness and anxiousness because an anxiety disorder is likely to involve an extreme or excessive degree of fear or anxiety. Moreover, the APA says that “anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives.” Treatment of anxiety disorders may include medication, therapy, or some combination of both, which have all proven to be effective.

According to the APA, anxiety disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women than in men. Such a diagnosis has two main requirements:

  1. The anxiety must be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate.
  2. The anxiety must hinder one’s ability to function normally.

False Advertising by Dietary Supplement Manufacturers Exposes Consumers to Health Risks

Numerous dietary supplement manufacturers that market their products online make unfounded claims about their products’ ability to cure, treat, or mitigate anxiety and other mental health issues. This can have serious consequences for anyone who uses these drugs.

According to Steven Tave, Director of the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, “Dietary supplements that claim to cure, mitigate or prevent …mental health disorders are unapproved new drugs that could potentially harm consumers who use these products instead of seeking proven treatments from qualified health care providers.” Tave added that use of unapproved drugs is particularly troubling when it occurs during the COVID-19 pandemic because many consumers are already suffering from depression and other mental health issues.

Contact the California False Advertising Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC

If you or someone you know is suffering from an anxiety disorder and has taken dietary supplements to treat, cure, or mitigate anxiety, you could be entitled to monetary compensation. The Los Angeles dietary supplement attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP can investigate your case, hold the drug manufacturer accountable, and get you compensated for your injuries. Call us anytime or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

Do you have an anxiety supplements case?

Contact us for a free evaluation.


Automatic Subscription Renewal Law

The Legality of Automatically Renewing Subscriptions

Automatic Subscription Renewal Law

You know the feeling. You sign up for a one-year subscription—whether it’s for TV and internet services, food delivery, clothing, a dating app, or countless other products and services—intending to pay only for that year. Or you sign up for a “free trial,” thinking you will only be charged if you actually buy the service. But then, without your knowledge and consent, you are charged for an additional subscription period, or for a product or service you never intended to buy. Unfortunately, this happens to consumers every day, and companies often rely on these deceptive practices to get your business and your money.

The good news is that many states, including California, have laws like the ARL to ensure that consumers enter subscription programs with full knowledge and affirmative consent. To learn more, keep reading this blog.

What Is the Automatic Renewal Law?

In 2009, the California Legislature passed the Automatic Renewal Law, Business and Profession Code Section 17600 (the “ARL”), to “end the practice of ongoing charging of consumer credit or debit cards . . . without the consumers’ explicit consent for ongoing shipments of a product or ongoing deliveries of service.”

You may be entitled to relief under the ARL if any of the following apply:

  1. You were charged for a subscription that automatically renewed without your knowledge and consent.
  2. You signed up for a “free trial,” and without being able to cancel the service, were charged anyway.
  3. You signed up for a “free trial,” and there was no “clear and conspicuous explanation” of the offer’s pricing or change in pricing upon the trial’s end.
  4. You signed up for the subscription online, but there is no online cancellation option.
  5. For non-online subscriptions, there are none of the following cancellation methods: (a) a toll-free telephone number; (b) an email address; (c) a postal address, if the seller directly bills the consumer; or (d) another “cost-effective, timely, and easy-to-use mechanism.”

What Are the Disclosure Requirements Under the ARL?

Under the ARL, any business initiating an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a California consumer must:

  • Disclose the terms of the offer.
  • Obtain the consumer’s affirmative consent.
  • Provide the consumer an acknowledgement of the order.
  • Provide simple cancellation procedures, along with other miscellaneous requirements.

Whether they are offered orally or in writing, the offer terms must be disclosed in temporal or visual proximity to “the request for consent to the offer.” Id. § 17602(a)(1).

The disclosures must also be “clear and conspicuous.” Id. A visual disclosure is clear and conspicuous if it is “in larger type than the surrounding text, or in contrasting type, font, or color to the surrounding text of the same size . . . in a manner that clearly calls attention to the language.” Id. § 17601(c). An audio disclosure is clear and conspicuous if it is “in a volume and cadence sufficient to be readily audible and understandable.” Id. Three other important aspects of the ARL are: A company must allow a consumer to cancel an automatic renewal or continuous service offer exclusively online if the consumer accepted the offer online ( § 17602(c)); and An automatic renewal or continuous service offer that includes a free gift or trial must have a “clear and conspicuous explanation” of the offer’s pricing or change in pricing upon the trial’s end ( § 17602(a)(1)); and A “free gift or trial” triggers a disclosure in the acknowledgement about how to cancel–and an allowance for cancellation–before the consumer pays for the good or service ( § 17602(a)(3)).

Can You Sue If Your Subscription Was Automatically Renewed Without Your Consent?

Although there is no private right of action under the ARL, a private plaintiff may bring an action under California’s Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. (“UCL”), for restitution and injunctive relief, as long as the plaintiff has suffered injury in fact and lost money or property. See Lopez v. Stages of Beauty, LLC, 307 F. Supp. 3d 1058, 1070 (S.D. Cal. 2018).

Contact the California ARL Lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC Today

Victims of false advertising should report illegal subscriptions to the California ARL lawyers at Tauler Smith LLC. Our experienced attorneys can investigate the subscriptions and help you obtain compensation. Call 310-590-5927 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation.

 

Was your subscription automatically renewed?

You may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for a free evaluation.


$40 Million in Contempt Sanctions for False Advertising of Weight Loss Supplements in Violation of Injunction Affirmed

The 11th Circuit upheld a district court’s granting of $40 million in contempt sanctions against Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and other co-defendants for making unsubstantiated marketing statements on four weight loss supplements in violation of an injunction obtained by the Federal Trade Commission. The $40 million figure represents the amount of gross revenue from the four products.

“The ink had hardly dried on filings from the first injunction case when the defendants started a new marketing campaign in 2009. This time, they touted the fat- and weight-loss benefits of four products—a reformulated version of Lipodrene, Fastin, Benzedrine, and Stimerex-ES. For example, advertisements for Lipodrene warned users not to consume the product unless ‘fat loss and weight loss are your intended result’; advertisements for Fastin boasted that it was an ‘Extreme Fat Burner’; those for Benzedrine claimed that it would ‘annihilate . . . fat’; and advertisements for Stimerex-ES told users that this was a product ‘for those who want their fat-burner to light them up all day as their pounds melt away.'”

The full opinion is available here.