The maker of a dietary supplement made from jellyfish protein and touted as a memory booster asked a California federal judge not to certify a proposed multistate class action lawsuit brought by consumers accusing the company of making false claims. The supplement has ratcheted $165 million in sales in the past 10 years.
Quincy Bioscience LLC told U.S. District Court Judge Hayward S. Gilliam Jr. that its Prevagen supplement does work as claimed because it has been clinically tested and that the lead plaintiff did not take the medication as directed.
Prevagen contains apoaequorin, a substance found in jellyfish. The supplement’s label states that it is “clinically tested,” “improves memory,” and “supports healthy brain function, sharper mind and clearer thinking.” It also claims to “improve memory within 90 days.” Prevagen has been advertised on CNN, and is sold through Amazon.com and at CVS pharmacies.
In September, lead plaintiff Phillip Racies sought certification for multistage class and California classes based on allegations that Quincy Bioscience made bogus claims and used phony science to mislead and reasonably deceive consumers “because the products provide no brain health benefits to anyone.”
Racies’ lawsuit claimed that the clinical trial referred to by the company showed no overall difference between Prevagen and a placebo. However, some subgroups reported minor mental improvement after using the supplement.
The company claims that it used the Federal Trade Commission’s “gold standard of scientific testing,” i.e. a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, to prove the benefits of Prevagen.
In January, the FTC and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the company over the false claims, but a federal judge tossed out the suit last month.