Andro Maker Settles With FTC

A Colorado company accused of misrepresenting the safety and contents of its muscle-building nutritional supplements has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

A draft of the settlement between the FTC and Golden, Colo.-based AST Nutritional Concepts & Research Inc. and its chief executive officer, Paul Delia, was filed in U.S. District Court in Denver on Monday.

The FTC was suing over AST's androgen supplements, which purportedly increase muscle mass, strength and libido. Use of similar boosters by sports stars have brought the type of supplement into the spotlight.

Andro supplements were thrust into the spotlight in 1998 when St. Louis Cardinals batting legend Mark McGwire admitted he was using a supplement containing androstenedione during his record 70-homer season.

In the year following McGwire's disclosure, sales of the testosterone booster surged more than 1,000 percent to more than $50 million, according to industry figures.

McGwire said in August that he had quit using the supplements several months earlier and never wanted to take andro again.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged that AST engaged in deceptive advertising practices by claiming that the supplements were completely safe and free from side effects without citing any scientific data to support the claims.

The complaint also alleged that the company falsely claimed its androgen supplements did not contain steroid hormones.

Under the terms of the settlement, AST would be forbidden to claim that the use of such products is safe or free from side effects. The company would also be barred from claiming its product is safer than others unless it had reliable scientific evidence to back up the claim.

The settlement also would prohibit AST from claiming that the supplements were steroid-free.

Finally, the settlement called for warnings on AST androgen product advertisements, promotional material and product labels disclosing the risks associated with the supplements.

AST androgen supplements containing ephedra or ephedrine and making any claims about their effects would be required to bear warnings about possible side effects.

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