A proposed class action claims Neuriva dietary supplements cannot improve brain function or cognitive performance as advertised on product labels.
According to the lawsuit, Neuriva makers Reckitt Benckiser LLC and RB Health (US) LLC attempted to capitalize on the “ballooning and lucrative” brain health supplement market by racing to make Neuriva Original and Neuriva Plus available in stores and online in April 2019. The lawsuit argues that although the defendants claim Neuriva has been “clinically proven” to improve “brain performance,” neither these statements nor claims that the product’s bona fides are “backed by science” are true.
In truth, the suit says, Reckitt Benckiser has engaged in a “uniformly deceptive advertising and marketing campaign” fraught with false statements purporting that science has proven the active ingredients in Neuriva can improve users’ focus, accuracy, memory, learning and concentration.
According to the lawsuit, the end-goal of the defendants’ representations is for consumers to believe Neuriva has been “proven as a matter of fact” to provide meaningful brain performance benefits through its “highly trumpeted” active ingredients—coffee cherry extract and soy-based phosphatidylserine. The case alleges, however, that dietary supplements such as Neuriva have not been proven to provide any cognitive benefits.
“In reality, Defendants have no scientific or clinical proof that Neuriva provides any benefit to the brain or that its key advertised ingredients can actually access the brain in sufficient amounts—or in any amount—to provide meaningful brain performance benefit,” the complaint reads. “Defendants’ promises about Neuriva and their representations about Neuriva’s key ingredients are simply false or, in some instances, disturbingly misleading.”
Among the misleading advertising statements is a claim on the front of Neuriva’s packaging that touts the supplements’ supposed “Clinically Proven Natural Ingredients,” the lawsuit alleges, noting the statement is enhanced by a large picture of a brain “where it cannot be missed by consumers.” Similar statements and representations touting Neuriva as “proven” to improve brain performance appear in television commercials, on the defendants’ web pages, in other online marketing forums, and in pamphlets and literature distributed by the companies, per the complaint.
The lawsuit emphasizes that a claim must be supported by “overwhelming evidence” and widely accepted among the scientific community in order to be considered “scientifically and clinically proven.” Further, any sweeping agreement among scientists must be preceded by “sufficiently large, randomized, controlled, double-blind studies that have been scrutinized by peer review during the publication process and subjected to scholarly debate by diverse panels of scientific experts,” the complaint says. Even further, the results of intensive studies must be able to be independently replicated using “rigorous experimental design and data collection practices,” the lawsuit contends.
According to the case, no scientific consensus or evidence exists to support the defendants’ claims that Neuriva can boost brain performance “in any way.”
In order to improve brain performance, the active ingredients in Neuriva must actually reach the brain, which would require that they survive the acids in the stomach and be absorbed into the blood, the lawsuit says. After absorption, the ingredients must then avoid being broken down by the liver before passing through the blood-brain barrier, according to the case.
The lawsuit alleges there exists “no valid scientific or clinical evidence” indicating just how much of Neuriva’s active ingredients—if any—may reach a user’s brain.
“Because of this lack of evidence, Defendants’ claims that Neuriva’s ingredients are scientifically and clinically proven to benefit the brain are patently false, as well as are Defendants’ claims that Neuriva is effective,” the complaint scathes.
Seemingly backing up the plaintiff’s claims is a statement from the Global Council on Brain Health, who echoed that “brain health supplements have not been established to maintain thinking skills or improve brain function,” the suit continues.
The lawsuit adds that the five scientific studies cited on the defendants’ website in support of the efficacy of Neuriva’s active ingredients are “inconclusive” at best and “directly undermine” the companies’ claims in that they conclude more research is needed to determine whether coffee cherry extract and soy-based phosphatidylserine can actually improve brain function.
According to the case, the plaintiff and proposed class members were harmed by purchasing Neuriva because they did not obtain the advertised benefits of taking the supplement.
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