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Aug 31 2011

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Fort Worth ‘Naturopathic Doctor’ charged

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged a Fort Worth-based “naturopathic doctor” with unlawfully marketing and promoting dietary supplements. According to the State’s enforcement action, Texas law does not recognize naturopathic doctors, and the defendant unlawfully described her supplements’ ability to cure or prevent illnesses.
The defendant, Valerie Saxion, operates under the business name Valerie Saxion Inc. and sells various dietary supplements, skin care products and books by telephone and through her website. Saxion also promotes her products through a local television show known as “Alternative Health.” Both the television broadcast and her promotional materials tout Saxion’s doctoral degree in naturopathy from Clayton College of Natural Health. However, Clayton College is not properly accredited, so it is improper to cite those purported degrees, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Court documents filed by the State indicate that Saxion promotes her products by claiming that the dietary supplements can cure breast, prostate, stomach, colorectal and skin cancers. The defendant touts suppositories for reducing the affects of high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and severe back pain. Another dietary supplement purports to heighten serotonin levels and to aid in overcoming depression, obesity, food cravings, bulimia, insomnia, migraines and other maladies. Vendors who market dietary supplements cannot claim that their products prevent, cure, mitigate or treat diseases, because these products have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Because the defendants cite disease-curing properties for dietary supplements, the Office of the Attorney General contends the defendants have been selling new and unapproved drugs to the public.
In other promotional materials, the defendants advertise self-named products that claim to cure, treat, prevent or mitigate diseases: Dr. Val’s Resveratrol (antioxidant protection for the heart); Dr. Val’s Paracease (combats intestinal parasites); and Dr. Val’s Oh My Back (provides a pain-free existence and increased flexibility).
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) referred this enforcement case to the Office of the Attorney General. During its inspections, DSHS found that some of the products’ labels failed to include the term “dietary supplement” or other descriptive term in the statement of identity and that some of the labels failed to list the manufacturer’s address.
The State seeks civil penalties of up to $20,000 for each violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and up to $25,000 per violation per day of the Health and Safety Code.

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