The Texas Attorney General doesn’t want to talk about why his office hasn’t taken legal action against multi-level marketing company Mannatech. His office was informed on October 5 by the Department of State Health Services that Mannatech is a threat to public health and safety.
Mannatech was recently featured on ABC’s news program 20/20. The program highlighted the bogus health claims made by representatives pushing Mannatech’s “Ambrotose” product, which is nothing more than a sugar pill.
According to the DSHS memo:
DSHS believes that these persons will continue to violate Texas law as described in the enclosed memorandum unless enjoined from doing so and that such continued operations pose a threat to the public health and safety.
The memo further states that the Mannatech website was:
…promoting dietary supplements as products that are intended to prevent, diagnose, mitigate, treat or cure a disease.
The attorney general’s office has reportedly been investigating Mannatech since July 2005 for deceptive trade practices. DSHS has sent Mannatech a warning letter, stating that the company is marketing its products as drugs when they are not.
According to today’s newspaper article:
Mannatech’s supplements, known as glyconutrients, are plant extracts said to contain sugars missing from modern diets. The products are sold by sales associates who build “downlines” by persuading others to buy.
In an article about the company in September, the Star-Telegram described how some associates say the products can treat a variety of illnesses and conditions, including cancer and Down syndrome, and do so using testimonials from pamphlets and CDs available at company functions.
Similar reports have since appeared in The Wall Street Journal and on the ABC News program 20/20.
Sam Caster, Mannatech’s chairman and chief executive officer, has said the company promotes only the nutritional benefits of its products and does not believe that it is out of line in allowing material containing personal testimonials to be sold to associates.
A pending class action suit against Mannatech alleges that more than 80% of the company’s sales to associates are based upon false health claims.