Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Amway's Nutrilite in trouble

United States-based direct selling company Amway is in trouble as a lower court in Uttar 
Pradesh has pronounced that the company has been making false and misleading health 
claims for its vitamin supplement Nutrilite Daily and violating India's food law. 
United States-based direct selling company Amway is in trouble as a lower court in Uttar 
Pradesh has pronounced that the company has been making false and misleading health 
claims for its vitamin supplement Nutrilite Daily and violating India's food law.
Besides, the ruling could cast a shadow on the multinational company's flagship brand 
Nutrilite, under which it sells a range of products including vitamin supplements and 
protein powder.
After hearing a complaint filed by the food regulator, Food Safety and Standards 
Authority of India or FSSAI, the court said in a recent order that Amway has been
claiming that its product has exclusive natural extracts such as 'phytofactors plant 
compounds from Nutrilite's exclusive plant concentrates', without citing any scientific 
evidence to back it.
The court also slapped a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on the company. Amway said that it has 
already challenged the order in Food Safety Appellate Tribunal at Meerut and got a stay 
order.
The Greater Noida court also found Amway's claim - that its special coating called 
'Nutrilite exclusive nutria lock' makes it easier to swallow tablets - misleading and
without proof, and said that it fails to understand how the company's coating is 
exclusive and different from those used by several other drug making companies for the 
same purpose.
The judge also took note of the fact that FSSAI's product approval division has rejected 
applications for several other products under Nutrilite series such as Iron-Folic, 
Natural 'B' and Bio C, among others. The food regulator argued before the court that it 
has become a trend for many drug-making companies to project their medicinal products as 'food' to escape the tighter regulations under Drug and Cosmetics Act, and expensive and time consuming clinical trials mandated under it.
Leading brand consultants said the adverse impact of one subbrand has a negative rub-off  on other sub-brands under the umbrella brand. "An adverse event like this absolutely has the potential to make a dent in the brand image of the entire Nutrilite range of 
products, albeit not to the extent of damage faced by the brand of the product in 
question, Nutrilite Daily in this case," said Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
Amway said it doesn't think that the ruling will hit the brand image of Nutrilite in 
India.
"We have moved Food Safety Appellate Tribunal at Meerut challenging this order which 
questioned claims made through product merchandising literature of Nutrilite Daily. The 
Tribunal vide an order dated May 07, 2015 has stayed the order passed by ADM, Gautam Budh Nagar, Greater Noida. We are hopeful of getting a positive order in our appeal as we have adequate substantiation for all the claims made in the product merchandising literature of Nutrilite Daily," said an Amway spokesperson.
Claiming that Nutrilite is the world's No. 1 selling vitamins and dietary supplements 
brand, he added that all Nutrilite products globally comply with World Health 
Organisation and International guidelines like CODEX for vitamin and mineral content.
"The Nutrilite range has been manufactured and sold in India, after getting requisite 
licences under the food law, for more than a decade. Nutrilite Daily was launched in 
India in 2002 and we have lakhs of satisfied customers here," he said.
According to media reports published in March, of the over Rs 2,000 crore annual revenue that Amway clocks in India, the Nutrilite range of products accounts for 55%, beauty products portfolio contribute another 30% while the balance comes from the company's home care range.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

RBI warns against 'balance checking' app


Crooks always come up with new tricks to con the gullible. Earlier, they asked the debit card holders to reveal the pin and cleaned their accounts. This time they are out to clean the accounts once again with a new application.

Cautioning public against a fraudulent bank account mobile app in its name, the 

Reserve Bank has said that it has not developed any such application. The RBI on 

Saturday warned the general public against using the application allowing a 

person to check balances in various bank accounts.

In a statement, the Central Bank said that it has come to its notice that a software 

application is doing rounds on WhatsApp purportedly to facilitate checking of 

balance in customers' bank accounts.

The software application has the RBI logo on it with the title 'All Bank Balance 

Enquiry No' and has listed several banks with either mobile number or call centre 

number.

"The Reserve Bank wishes to clarify that it has not developed any such 

application. Members of public are, therefore, advised to use the application, if at 

all, at their own risk," RBI said.

My dear fellow Indians! Do not fall for the dubious tricks of the conmen. Do not 

reveal any information regarding your bank account details to anyone.

Monday, 16 March 2015

There is no scientific case for homeopathy: the debate is over

Pharmacists who sell homeopathic remedies as anything other than placebos are putting their customers’ health at risk 

Edward Ernst
Drawers containing homeopathic remedies
 'Undeterred by the evidence, the public continue their long and intense love affair with homeopathy. Few wonder whether it is the homeopathic remedy or something else, eg the placebo-effect, that did the trick.' Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Homeopathy has been with me all my life. As a boy, I was treated by homeopaths; my first post as a junior doctor was in a homeopathic hospital, later I researched homeopathy and published more than 100 papers on the subject, and finally I summarised the entire experience in a memoir entitled A Scientist in Wonderland.
In 1993, when I became professor of complementary medicine at Exeter, I was more than happy to give homeopathy the benefit of the doubt. I would have loved to show that it is effective beyond placebo, not least because anyone doing that would almost automatically deserve a Nobel prize. He or she would have to show that a sizeable chunk of our understanding of the laws of nature is quite simply wrong. Homeopathy is based on the belief that “like cures like” and that the dilution of a medicine – homeopaths call the process “potentiation” – renders it not weaker but stronger. As both of these assumptions fly in the face of science, critical thinkers have always insisted that few things could be more implausible than homeopathy.
But plausibility is not everything. In Exeter, we conducted trials, surveys and reviews of homeopathy in the faint hope that we might discover something important. What we did find was sobering:
 Our trials failed to show that homeopathy is more than a placebo.
 Our reviews demonstrated that the most reliable of the 230 or so trials of homeopathy ever published are also not positive.
 Studies with animals confirmed the results obtained on humans.
 Surveys and case reports suggested that homeopathy can be dangerous.
 The claims made by homeopaths to cure conditions like cancer, asthma or even Ebola were bogus.  The promotion of homeopathy is not ethical.










Now, the internationally highly respected Australian National Health and Medical Research Council have conducted what certainly is the most thorough and independent evaluation of homeopathy in its 200-year-long history. Already their preliminary report had confirmed that homeopathy is nothing other than treatment with placebos. Predictably, this caused a storm of opposition from enthusiasts of homeopathy, and they were invited to submit their evidence to the contrary. The Australians then considered this evidence carefully and have now published their final report. It arrived at the same conclusion as the previous document. If anything, it went one step further by pointing out that “people who choose homeopathy may put their health at risk if they reject or delay treatments for which there is good evidence for safety and effectiveness”. Personally, I would go another step further and remind pharmacists who sell homeopathic remedies to the unsuspecting public that it is unethical to pretend they are more than placebos.
Undeterred by the evidence, the public continue their long and intense love affair with homeopathy. Worldwide, consumers use it in their millions and are convinced that it helps them. Few wonder whether it is the homeopathic remedy or something else, eg the placebo-effect, that did the trick. Homeopaths continue to claim that their approach is based on sound evidence; they even cite studies and reviews that seem to prove their point. Few of us wonder whether their evidence is cherry-picked and thus unreliable. In other words, the discussion about the value or otherwise of homeopathy has been never-ending, often intense and incredibly unproductive.In 2010, a House of Commons select committee assessed the evidence for and against homeopathy. It concluded that homeopathy was not more effective than a placebo and that the NHS should cease funding it. Subsequently, the government considered their report and essentially agreed with the verdict but nevertheless felt that, if patients want homeopathy, they must have it on the NHS. Such blatant disregard for the principles of evidence-based medicine infuriates scientists, perpetuates a needless debate and wastes sizable amounts of taxpayers’ money.
But, after 200 years of fruitless discussion, we finally have, in the Australian evaluation, a comprehensive, transparent and evidence-based review from a panel of experts who are competent and free of conflicts of interest as well as a government that is determined to abide by the advice thus generated. Let’s hope that others will now follow suit.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/12/no-scientific-case-homeopathy-remedies-pharmacists-placebos

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Harmless placebos are lawful, but 'Homeopathy' remains a deception

Like 'Santa Claus', 'homeopathy' can be either a benign or (if it is in the hands of persons with hidden criminal objectives) an exploitative deception, but it remains a deception.  Once this is understood, a purely-objective study of 'homeopthy', takes our free-thinking readers into a particularly difficult area, for, self-evidently, not all deceptions are unlawful. 
Today, conventional medicine accepts that many illnesses are psychosomatic (i.e. they are caused, or aggravated, by mental conflict, stress, etc.). Qualified, conventional, medical practitioners, themselves, are, therefore, permitted to give harmless placebos (including 'homeopathic remedies') to their patients, due to the genuinely beneficial psychological, and resulting physical, effects that this 'white lie' can bring to certain people. The regulation and prevalence of 'homeopathy' varies-reatly from country to country. As far as I am aware, there are no specific laws anywhere in the world, either prohibiting 'homeopathy' as a fraud or identifying its legitimate use as a harmless placebo. In some countries, licenses or degrees in conventional medicine from accredited universities are required. In various countries,'homeopathic treatment' is wholly or partly refunded by national insurance schemes. In other countries, it is fully integrated into national health-care programs. However, since legislators have invariably ignored 'homeopathy', strict laws which govern the regulation, development and testing of conventional drugs often do not apply to 'homeopathic remedies.' That said, if there is no independent regulation of 'homeopathy,' nor any effective means of enforcing existing regulation, then the deception can easily be perverted and used by charlatans to exploit vulnerable people. Indeed, there are many parallels between the always-unlawful 'MLM income opportunity' deception and the often-unlawful 'homeopathy' deception. In the past, I have described criminogenic organizations like 'Amway' as 'peddling a economic placebo' dissimulated as a harmless scientifically-proven cure for poverty. All active 'MLM' participants have lost their time and money, but they have mostly survived their brief encounter with the'MLM' deception. However, just as with the exploitative version of the 'homeopathy' deception, if vulnerable people start to accept the'MLM' lie as total reality (and persist to a level of delusion), eventually, they risk destitution and destruction.
 
To its many satisfied adherents, 'Homeopathy' (also spelled 'homoeopathy' or 'homÅ“opathy'), is a proven, alternative medical science. To free-thinking observers, it is an absurd, latter-day revival of an absurd, 19th century pseudo-science based on an assemblage of absurd, ancient, non-rational or superstitious beliefs.
Like their 19th century counterparts, today's 'homeopathy'  practitioners point to their many satisfied customers and confidently claim to be able to treat patients using massively-diluted preparations. These preparations are supposed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms similar to those exhibited by the unhealthy people they are supposed to treat. However, the overwhelming bulk of quantifiable evidence proves 'homeopathy' to be no more and no less effective than any other harmless placebo.
'Homeopathy' is supposedly based on what is known as the'law of similars' -  a term coined by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, in 1796. However for many centuries, prior to this, it had been a widely-held superstition that anything resembling a particular part of the human body could be used to treat illnesses, or failings, of the same body part. (e.g. walnuts look like the human brain, so it was once thought that walnuts and walnut oil are good for ailments of the brain - confusion, memory loss, headaches, etc.).
In reality, so-called 'homeopathic remedies' are prepared by progressive dilution in water (involving shaking and striking), of animal, vegetable or mineral substances. These substances are arbitrarily chosen according to the so-called 'law of similars.'  Practitioners describe the dilution process as 'succussion and potentization.' This typically complex, ritual, hocus-pocus (involving thought-stopping jargon and the contemplation of infinity) is claimed 'to increase effectiveness.'  However, dilution can continue until no trace of the original substance remains.  Apart from the symptoms, so-called 'homeopaths' examine their 'patients''physical and psychological state,  then 'homeopathic'publications known as 'repertories' are consulted, and a'remedy' is chosen. Common-sense reveals that, at very high-rates of dilution, so-called 'homeopathic remedies' contain few, or no, pharmacologically active molecules. Thus,'homeopaths' are, in fact, peddling water which, for it to have any pharmacological effect, would violate the fundamental laws of science. Consequently, certain so-called'homeopaths' have lately-pretended that 'water has a memory' allowing homeopathic preparations to work without any of the original pharmacological substance remaining. Unfortunately, there is neither quantifiable evidence nor any plausible physical mechanisms by which such a convenient phenomenon can be proved. 
The total absence of quantifiable evidence to support what 'homeopaths'steadfastly pretend to be reality, and particularly their peddling of water as a remedy,  is what has led qualified observers to describe certain  'homeopaths' as charlatans and quacks, exploiting vulnerable persons with an cruel deception. Oral 'homeopathic remedies' are safe at the high dilutions (for the simple reason they are likely not to contain any active substance), but they may be unsafe at lower dilutions. Whilst a delusional, unquestioning faith in the power of 'homeopathy' can expose vulnerable persons to significant risks; particularly, if they are advised against vaccinations, anti-malarial drugs and antibiotics.
Belief in 'homeopathy' became widespread in the 19th century, particularly in the USA. Dr. John Franklin Gray (1804–1882) was the first American 'homeopathic'practioner, in New York City. The first 'homeopathic school'opened in 1830. During the 19th century, many 'homeopathic'institutions were begun in Europe and America.  By 1900, there were 22 'homeopathic colleges' and 15,000 practitioners in the USA. In the past, many conventional medical treatments were useless and dangerous quackery, whereas harmless 'homeopathic' placebos often had better results. It has been suggested that the relative success of'homeopathy' as a placebo in the 19th century was one of the factors that led to the disappearance of the useless and harmful quackery of 'bleeding and purging. ' 
As conventional medical science advanced, in leaps and bounds 'homeopathy' was generally derided by mainstream scientists and rejected by the public. Like all fashions, its popularity soon waned. By 1920, the few remaining schools in the USA exclusively teaching 'homeopathy' had closed. Sadly, the US federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 was sponsored by a New York Senator and 'homeopathic'doctor, Royal Copeland. This legislation, foolishly recognized'homeopathic remedies' as drugs. Even then, by the 1950s, there were only 75 homeopaths practising in the USA.  By  late 1970s alternative medicine had become fashionable again, and 'homeopathy' reappeared in America and Europe, where sales of some 'homeopathic' companies multiplied. The medical profession then started to adopt 'homeopathic remedies' in the 1990s.
Today, all over the world, the owners, and/or corporate officers of pharmacy chains have recognized the massive potential for profit, and they have begun selling vast quantities of harmless placebos branded as 'homeopathic remedies.'
David Brear

Sunday, 1 March 2015

'Herbalife (HLF)' 10K - Once Upon Time




Once upon a time, a handsome, but poor, young Prince called Mark Hughes dreamt of building an Empire called 'Herbalife' where he would be Emperor and where, under his benign rule, there would be endless health, wealth and freedom for all folks - so long as they just kept buying, and swallowing, his exclusive, magic economic, and medical, potions and recruiting others to do the same. Mark's potions could not only make fat folks thinner, and thin folks fatter, but they could also cure sick folks and protect them from all illness whilst transforming the deepest believers into millionaires.


Some very wicked and jealous people (called regulators and journalists), began to suspect that what Mark Hughes offered was far too good to be true, but Mark replied that he'd not been lying at all, it was only some of his naughty followers. From that day forward, Mark promised that he would make sure that everyone in the magic Empire called 'Herbalife, would only tell the truth.






Many years later (after Mark Hughes had died), lots more wicked and jealous people (this time, called critics and short sellers) again began to say that 'Herbalife' was far too good to be true; for another well-rehearsed ruler, called Michael Johnson, had come along and had again insisted that there would still be endless health, wealth and freedom for all folks - if they ignored all voices of doubt and just kept buying, and swallowing, 'Herbalife's' magic potions and recruiting eveyone they knew to do the same


Meanwhile back in the adult world of quantifiable reality, the 'Herbalife' racketeers have just been forced to admit to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that belief in their once profitable, self-perpetuating fairy story is rapidly diminishing all over the globe, and that almost everyone who has ever signed up for 'Herbalife' has left the organization.




'Our results in 2014 reflect our ongoing transition to a more consumer-focused organization. 

Our transformation, which first began in 2008 and will continue through 2015, is creating a stronger, more consumer friendly Herbalife and one that is evolving and getting better every single day.

Critical to our transformation has been the focus of Herbalife and our members on daily consumption as well as our emphasis on bringing new sales leaders into a company in a more sustainable way than in the past. This more gradual path to becoming a sales leader is working. As all of the data show that these leaders are more productive and stay with Herbalife longer. 2014 saw record-breaking retention rates for our sales leaders. We achieved what we believe is an industry leading and impressive retention rate of 54.2%, that's up from 51.8% in 2013.

We are continuing to grow our customer base and have more customers in 2014 than any time in our 35-year history, and we reported record net sales for the year of $5 billion.'

When translated into plain English, in Michael Johnson's most-recent thought-stopping propaganda broadcast, he now pretends that most of 'Herbalife's' adherents (who were once all labelled 'Distributors' in the fairy story, but who are now all re-labelled 'Members'), were really only temporary 'customers' travelling through the magic Empire, and who never expected to make any money. Therefore, according to Michael Johnson: even though Mark Hughes' magic potions have never cured anyone of poverty or illness, no one was ever tricked in to buying them and, consequently, 'Herbalife' is not a lie.
  

Yet if you apply common sense and remove all the arbitrary thought-stopping definitions and confront the simple fact that virtually no one who has not been under contract to 'Herbalife' has been buying anything from this organization (based on value and demand), then you immediately realize what has really been occurring.

In this unoriginal cultic racket, a closed-market swindle has been dissimulated behind effectively-usaleable products, and the reality-inverting term 'customer' has lately been hung round the necks of victims in order to obstruct investigation and continue to commit the same fraud.

This, in a nutshell, is the sustainable racket that US law enforcement agents and prosecutors ought to have been addressing right from the outset of the 'Herbalife' fairy story.


David Brear (copyright 2015)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Sebi bars Agri Gold Farm from raising funds from public


Continuing its crackdown on illicit realty investment activities, Sebi on Thursday barred Andhra Pradesh-based Agri Gold Farm Estates India from raising fresh capital from the public with immediate effect.
Besides, it directed the company not to launch any new scheme.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) found that Agri Gold Farm Estates India Pvt Ltd (AGFEIPL) was running 'collective investment schemes (CIS)' without obtaining registration from the regulator.
The company was inviting investments from the general public through its various schemes for the purchase and development of land.
"I find that the schemes operated by AGFEIPL...Are in the nature of a CIS," Sebi Whole Time Member S Raman said in an interim order.
Accordingly, Sebi directed AGFEIPL and its directors --Venkata Rama Rao Avva, Avva Venkata Seshu Narayana Rao, Avva Hema Sundara Vara Prasad, Savadam Srinivas, Moganti Bhanuji Rao and Emmadi Sada Siva Vara Prasad Rao--"not to collect any fresh money from investors under its existing schemes".
It has also asked them "not to launch any new schemes or plans or float any new companies to raise fresh money."
Additionally, the company and its directors have been directed not to dispose any assets obtained from funds collected, while the entities also cannot divert money raised from the public.
Further, the entities have been asked to "immediately submit the full inventory of the assets including land obtained through money raised by " as well as furnish withing 15 days details related to the scheme.
These directions shall take effect "immediately and shall be in force until further orders in this regard." 
SEBI would have banned Agrigold when Corporate Frauds Watch sent letters to SEBI more than half a decade back against the illegal schemes of Agrigold to avoid the accumulation of over Rs. 6,000 crore (Sixty billion) in its coffers. Now the company enjoys the money without repaying its depositors on the pretext that SEBI banned the liquidation of its assets. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Food Safety and Standards of India directs Amway to withdraw six products from market


* Nutrilite cal-mag-D, Nutrilite natural B tablets, Nutrilite Iron Folic tablets, Nutrilite Bio C, Positrim Vanilla and Nutrilite Kids Drink Mixed Fruit flavour are the products directed to withdraw from the market. 
* These products contain more than permission quantities of minerals and vitamins which are not safe as per the ICMR and NIN.
* Mohammad Shahid Sharif, president of Anti-Adulteration Consumer Society lodged the complaint.

NAGPUR: Following directives from the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the M/s Amway Enterprises Pvt Ltd to withdraw six of its products from the market in the state. These products were found to contain more than the permissible quantities of minerals and vitamins as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute for Nutrition (NIN).
In Nagpur, Amway has a warehouse in Wadi and a showroom in Eternity mall. "After we received a directive from Uday Wanjari from our headquarters FDA (Food) we issued a letter to the company here on January 30 to withdraw the six products within seven days, by February 6," said joint commissioner FDA (Food) in city S Desai speaking to TOI.
The FSSAI's 'product approval' committee had rejected these six products which include Nutrilite cal-mag-D, Nutrilite natural B tablets, Nutrilite Iron Folic tablets, Nutrilite Bio C, Positrim Vanilla and Nutrilite Kids Drink Mixed Fruit flavour as per a letter written by Sandhya Kabra, dated December 31, 2014 who is director of the approval committee. Amway had asked for approval from FSSAI as per a letter dated June 21, 2012. In reply to this letter Kabra's predecessor Pradip Chakraborty had written to Vinay Kumar of Amway at Delhi on May 23, 2013.
But apparently, despite many reminders, the company did not withdraw the products and therefore FSSAI has now asked for action against the company across the country. On Monday Mohd Shahid Sharif, president of Anti-Adulteration Consumer Society in the city raised the issue with the collector office on 'lokshai din' when common people's complaint are heard. "I produced a bill of some of these products from the Eternity mall outlet named M/s Micropark Infortrade of Rs1,164.00 dated November 6, 2014. I have raised the query how it was being sold in city under eyes of local FDA," he said.
Assistant commissioner of FDA (Food) NR Wakode, who too was present when Sharif said no one would be spared. But the administration will take action only after the warning period till February 6 is over. In Mumbai, however, the order for withdrawal was issued on January 28 while it reached Nagpur FDA on January 30. "We inspected both the Wadi and Eternity mall outlets and issued warnings in writing," said Wakode.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Amway-asked-to-withdraw-six-products-from-
market/articleshow/46100811.cms