January 10, 2014
Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Dear Director Rich,
On behalf of The Obesity Society (TOS), I would like to applaud you and the proactive stance of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection in protecting consumers from products with false weight loss claims. The FTC’s “Operation Failed Resolution” is an unprecedented step toward protecting individuals affected by overweight and obesity against the myriad of false promises of weight loss emanating from makers of over-the-counter (OTC) products that are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This issue is of particular concern to TOS given that OTC products for weight loss are not regulated by the FDA unless specific safety issues are identified. For the safety of the public, it is crucial that claims on efficacy and safety of weight loss products are based on scientific evidence. Weight loss is difficult to achieve, and the large number of companies that take advantage of the vulnerable population trying to lose weight by selling weight loss products that are not rooted in scientific evidence, and not effective, has been a growing concern for our membership.
We think you said it best when you stated that “Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep and the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs or using a supplement are slim to none. The science just isn't there.” We commend you and the Bureau of Consumer protection and hope that the FTC’s monitoring of this issue continues to ensure that the manufacturers of these counterproductive products are held accountable.
Steven Smith, MD
President, The Obesity Society
Find a printable pdf version of the letter here.