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Herbalife Says All Queries Into Tactics Now Resolved

October 17, 1986|JUBE SHIVER Jr. | Times Staff Writer

The president of Herbalife International, the Los Angeles-based diet and food supplement company, said Thursday that all government inquiries into the company's controversial marketing methods for its pills and powders have been resolved.

Herbalife President Mark Hughes said the experience "has given us a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation for the crucial roles" that the Food and Drug Administration, the California attorney general's office and the state Department of Health "play in protecting the safety of the American consumer."

For more than 18 months, Herbalife has faced a wave of government inquiries and legal proceedings initiated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, the Canadian Ministry of Health and Welfare, two U.S. congressional panels and the California attorney general.

Herbalife agreed Wednesday to settle the last of the claims by agreeing to pay California $850,000 to settle allegations by the state attorney general's office, the state Department of Health and the Santa Cruz district attorney that it had made false medical claims in marketing its diet and nutritional supplement products.

Thursday, Hughes released a letter from John M. Taylor, acting associate FDA commissioner for regulatory affairs, detailing the results of an Oct. 10 meeting at which the two men agreed that Herbalife would discontinue marketing Tang Quei Plus, a tablet intended for the temporary relief of menstrual cramps, and K-8, a tablet promoted for its calming effect, after all existing supplies are sold.

The FDA had alleged that although the two products "do not pose any safety concerns . . . the therapeutic claims made for those products cause" the FDA to object to their continued sale.

Hughes said that the tablets would have required approval by the FDA in order for the firm to make any claims about their effectiveness. He said the FDA would have allowed the firm to continue marketing the products as long as no claims were made about them. Herbalife chose to stop marketing the products.

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