Man sues makers of “Enzyte” for inflated claims.

What’s in Enzyte anyway?

Tribulus Terrestris. A plant found in Australia, Asia, Africa and North and South America that is a natural testosterone stimulant.

Yohimbe Extract. An African evergreen, yohimbe is an aphrodisiac used in the treatment of impotence.

Niacin. Needed for proper circulation and is involved in the production of sex hormones, including testosterone.

Epimedium. An important supplement in Traditional Chinese medicine. A leafy plant, it has long been used to treat erectile problems, to improve libido and to restore sexual vitality.

Avena Sativa. Avena Sativa is rich in vitamins and has been shown to stimulate genital organs.

Zinc Oxide. Zinc is essential for many body functions and is part of more than 200 enzymes in the body.

Maca. An annual grown in Peru, animal studies have shown that Maca creates increased energy and stamina in sexual activity.

Muira Pauma. A native shrub of Brazil, it has long been used to improve libido and increase sexual potency.

Ginkgo Biloba. Increases arterial blood flow which has a beneficial effect on sexual function in men.

L-Arginine. An amino acid shown to improve erections.

Saw Palmetto. Used to treat prostate health problems.

Other ingredients: Gelatin, rice bran, oat fiber, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide.

Source: Lifekey Healthcare, Inc.

If you watch television at all you’ve probably seen the ads for a product called “Enzyte herbal male enhancement” (read: it makes your dick bigger) that features a 50’s retro-reject named Bob who has a permanent grin, not unlike the Joker’s grin from Batman, plastered on his face. It’s the sort of grin that is suppose to communicate to you how ridiculously overjoyed Bob is at his bigger love muscle, but it always reminds me of the sort of grin-of-denial one might have after he had accidentally caught his new love sausage in the zipper of his pants.

You know the one I’m talking about, right? I don’t watch that much TV and even I’ve seen it dozens of times. Anyway, it seems some poor schlep who felt his wee-willy was a little more ‘wee’ then he was happy with decided to try the product and—surprise! surprise!—it didn’t work. So he did what any red blooded American male with no sense of shame would do: He filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Man sues, says ‘enhancement’ product failed

David C. Parker of 4551 Lansmore Drive bought an eight-month supply of Enzyte for $399.60 in October 2001, relying on the company’s published claims that the product would enlarge his penis.

The product is distributed by what is now called Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals Inc., 1661 Waycross Road, Cincinnati. In his lawsuit, Parker claimed he relied on the company’s representation that “Research shows that after 3 to 4 weeks, most men on the Enzyte plan will experience some gain. . . . Depending upon the individual, initial results may take from 4 to 6 weeks.”

The lawsuit contends “the so-called ‘research’ referenced did not exist or did not constitute competent and reliable scientific evidence.”

Parker took Enzyte for the directed eight-month period, but “experienced no increase,” the lawsuit said.

Goldenberg said that the company no longer claims its product enlarges size but that Parker relied on the earlier advertising that included advertisements published in Esquire magazine and GQ.

I hate to say it, but this is one good thing that has come out of the popularity of shows like Jerry Springer on which people proudly display their crass insecurities like a badge of honor. In the past snake-oil sellers could rely on embarrassment and modesty to override any desire to seek legal recourse for products such as this, but these days most folks don’t have a problem letting their dirty laundry air if they think they can get a hefty settlement out of it. There’s certainly plenty of money to be had too. USA Today says Enzyte has 21,400 repeat customers at $99.95 a month for a whopping $2,138,930.00 a month in sales ($25,667,160.00 annually). I’d be willing to admit having a small pee-pee for a chunk of that change. Whether Mr. Parker will ever see any of it himself remains to be seen, however, because of that tricky issue of it being an herbal product.

You see “herbal supplements” are practically an anything-goes industry thanks to some serious lobbying efforts awhile back. In 1994 Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) which was later signed into law by President Clinton. This act basically limits how much control the FDA has over products that are considered to be “dietary supplements” and it effectively removes the need for the producers to prove their products are effective, or even safe, before they are allowed to sell them on the open market. So all those rigorous rules and standards the FDA has for prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs, well, they don’t apply to dietary supplements including products like Enzyte. Makers can go to market with limited proof of effectiveness or safety and they can make health claims up the wazoo based on their own interpretation of studies and the FDA can’t do dick about it. About the only thing the FDA can do is force a product off the shelf if it’s later proven to be unsafe, but by then the damage could already be done to thousands of people.

So, in short, the makers of Enzyte can point to their “Independent Customer Study” on their website as proof the product works even though all they did was mail a questionnaire with the product to 70 men and hope they responded favorably. Hardly a double-blind test and far from being scientific proof of anything other than the gullibility of a small number of men.

Looks legit, don't it?This is an issue for any herbal supplement that makes big claims like Enzyte does. It’s entirely possible that some herbal supplements may have some medical benefit, indeed some studies are showing just that, but the bigger the claims the more suspicious you should be of the product. It doesn’t help that these modern-day snake-oil salesmen have gotten pretty good at dressing up their products to look like legitimate prescription drugs. Compare the Enzyte logo to the Viagra logo on the left here. Viagra is a legitimate drug that has FDA approval and, as required, has the chemical name—sildenafil citrate—in parentheses underneath the brand name. Note how Enzyte has the words “suffragium asotas” under their brand name. Sounds kinda medical or scientific, doesn’t it? Makes the whole thing look a lot more legit, right? It’s not a chemical name, as this is an herbal supplement, so what is it? According to the Enzyte folks it’s a Latin phrase that translates to “enhanced sexuality,” but according to Rhett Martin at Harvard University’s classics department Enzyte’s makers might actually have meant suffragor asotis, a grammatically awkward way of saying, “refuge for the dissipated.”

What it should be is the Latin phrase “caveat emptor.”

Sources include: USA Today.com – Why is this man smiling? It’s not Viagra.
CNN.com – Herbal supplements: How they’re labeled and regulated.
The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week – 04/12/2002

13 thoughts on “Man sues makers of “Enzyte” for inflated claims.

  1. Ok, lemme just preface this by saying i think road salt should be banned (read on).

    When i first saw this info-commercial for the penis enlargement “remedy” the first thing that came to robert’s mind was:  caveat emptor.  Second, “i really gotta goto bed.”

    Then, i thought of Ashcroft.  I mean, this is an excellent case to highlight Justice’s overwhelming support for the American consumer (BSE anyone?  anyone?  mutual funds?  anyone?).  Added, i’d get a kick of hearing Ashcroft detail just how the company product was fradualant in the newsconference.

    Now, as i mentioned at the start of this, it’s really about road salt: Every year we fail to properly cull this odd class of consumer that continues to support, purchase, and consume this crap.  My original hope was the ephredrin, bse, and other products would do them in.  But, this has clearly not happened.  So.  Trust me people, if we didn’t salt or sand the roads for just one winter, the infomercial and QVC would cease to exist on our airwaves.

    .rob adams has a plan for you

  2. Rob, You mention BSE quite a bit. Are you willing to point to the actual study where it’s proven that BSE has been transmitted from cows to humans? I mean, if we’re going to get all excited about how the government isn’t protecting us from something, shouldn’t we actually be able to prove it’s harmful?  I don’t want them protecting me from things that aren’t real.

    And in case you are worried about BSE, rest assured that lack of proof that BSE can be transmitted to humans isn’t slowing down the FDA. Our glorious protectors, with no need of anything like evidence, has the pharmacuetical world in a tizzy demanding that alternative methods be developed (and used) for production of all drugs that require the use of animal products. Which means that the drugs you get may not be as effective as they used to be, but there’s no way you can get BSE from them. This is great, but since the people taking the drugs are usually taking them to prevent a specific, provable, disease risk, it may be upsetting to them when they don’t get BSE, but contract, say, polio.

    However, I heartily endorse your road salt plan. But then, I’ve got my eye on that group that’s for nuclear bombs for thinning out overly populated areas, too. Do you have that bumper sticker that reads “They call it tourist season, so why can’t we shoot ‘em?”

  3. I take it you’re a cattle breeder? (!?!!)

    Hey, remember to things:

    [] no lab exists in the NAFTA economic bloc which is capable of testing for BSE.  We sent our samples to the UK.  (gotta love that!)
    [] the US food and drug admin, when asked by several cattle producers for testing of their heard or for qualified AMerican labs, warned cattle breeders NOT to test for BSE, or face prosecution (Yes, legal action)—even if we had the domestic facilities.

    Why?  Even NPR couldn’t get that out of a spokeswoman for the admin.

    Personally, i think CJV is due to a genetic predisposition.  I used to work in London and had an opportunity to talk at some length with a professor working on the “CJV front” and he provided a number of good demographic examples of why there could very well be a genetic weakness to CJV.

    So, who knows, maybe G-d is merely working to smite Anglicans or something.  Lord knows HaShem has been fairly specific in his smiting efforts in the past, no?

    Regardless, trust me, consumer protection is not on the list of priorities with the currect Administration, unless you are a very wealthy consumer.

    .rob adams says vote Kerry, cause he is human

  4. Rob, dude, when were you in London?  Are you banned for life from donating blood in the US too?

  5. I lived in N5 (Highbury Hill, Islington), a fairly nice area.  Matter of fact, i had this awful commute where i had to walk through a huge grass park to work each day.  It was horrible, dodging flowers and trees in the heart of dirty London.

    And, i could never donate blood:
    [] i have a tattoo (star of david)
    [] i am gay (since birth, but don’t tell my girlfriends(note plural) in highschool
    [] ate a many a beef-burger after clubbing in London
    [] and i spent some time in upper Egypt and north sudan (malaria country—though i never got it)

    .rob adams doesn’t do blood

  6. I lived in Chelsea from ‘95-‘97.  The Brits were more than happy to collect my blood there on a regular basis, but here in the US I’m persona non grata (even if I explain to them that I ate at the all-Amurrican McDonald’s while I was there, so it was all right, really …).

  7. Not quite Angel station area in Islington, though i did shop at the Safeway there all the time.  And Angel station, with those long, long escalators.

    I was closer to the Highbury tube station, take a left out of the station, keep the park on your left side, and then when you reach the clock of Queen Victoria, that was my house.

    BTW, we were in London at the same time, like the death of Diana and the election of Blair.

    .rob adams

  8. David. Rob, You mention BSE quite a bit. Are you willing to point to the actual study where it

  9. Utility companies maintain that there is no scientific evidence of a causal relationship between their high tension lines and cancer clusters.Not only do the utility companies report this, but it’s confirmed by completely independent, highly qualified researchers who have re-examined all the studies and found no statistical evidence of a causal link.  For details, see Robert L. Park’s Voodoo Science (at left under Les’s “currently reading” heading).

  10. Tattoos and piercings are just a limited time deal.  They want you to wait a year after getting inked/pierced.

  11. So what if it can be communicated to humans do you know that currently the odds are about 134 in 6 billion that you will die from it,,,,lets worry about something a little miore pressing. Like for instance ,,,say the failing Bush administrations asault on air and water quality which is going to affect us all in the next decade or two if it’s not stopped now…
    Any other pressing suggestions, I am open to debate,,,

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