On December 5, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $4.1 million settlement against A.S. Research, LLC (ASR), the marketer of the dietary supplement Synovia. The Commission alleged that ASR misled consumers by purporting Synovia could dramatically reduce or cure chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling caused by arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and muscular atrophy.
ASR claimed Synovia was clinically proven to reduce arthritis pain by 95% and severe joint swelling by 100%. ASR also claimed that its users reported pain relief being just as effective as “painful” and “costly” $1,000 prescription joint pain injections. The FTC alleged that three medical doctors endorsing Synovia lacked expertise in joint pain relief and had never tested Synovia or studied the current list of ingredients. The agency also alleged that ASR solicited consumer testimonials by offering free product in exchange for “especially positive and inspiring reviews” and did not disclose that one of its reviews belonged to ASR’s co-owner.
ASR must cease its deceptive marketing tactics and disclose any material connections with its endorsers. It also is barred from making any claims that Synovia relieves joint pain, stiffness, or swelling; treats diseases; repairs damaged joints or cartilage; or provides the same relief as injected medications.