In December 2013, I wrote about a Madison biotech company facing an investigation from the Food and Drug Administration over a dietary supplement that supposedly bolsters memory recall. Three years later, Quincy Bioscience has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York attorney general on a related complaint.
My Isthmus story begins:
Quincy Bioscience, a Madison biotech company that has struck gold in the dietary supplement business, is facing a potentially ruinous lawsuit filed by government regulators.
The Federal Trade Commission in conjunction with the New York state attorney general is seeking to shut down sales of Prevagen, which is a costly over-the-counter supplement the company says improves brain function, including memory.
The supplement’s key ingredient is a synthetic version of a jellyfish protein called aequorin. Quincy has patented it and promoted aequorin as supporting a sharper mind and clearer thinking.
“A clear-cut fraud” is how New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman described the supplement in a press release. Through its advertising and TV infomercials, Quincy was preying on vulnerable senior citizens, he said, adding: Prevagen is a product “that costs more than a week’s groceries, but provides none of the health benefits that it claims.”
The FTC and Schneiderman want the court to issue a permanent injunction against the sale of Prevagen — which is Quincy’s core product — and to order the company to refund more than $165 million in Prevagen sales to consumers.
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