Viosan Health Generation Making Shady Claims
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Novasan LLC, headquartered in Naples, Florida, markets nutritional supplements under the Viosan brand name. Its stated mission is to "improve the health of its customers by offering a line of the highest quality, therapeutic dosage nutritional supplements, targeting core health issues."  I learned of its existence while investigating the activities of Rick Scott, whose Conservatives for Patients' Rights (CPR) group is working against health reform . The Florida Secretary of State corporate database indicates that Scott identified himself as manager when he registered Novasan in Florida.
Viosan lists seven health professionals on its advisory board: Ross Podell, MD (internist), Elliott Leitman, MD (orthopedist), Neal Skop, MD (cardiologist), Ken Fitzpatrick, MD (urologist), Robert Ruggiero, MD (orthopedist), Harris Greenberger, DPM (podiatrist), and Denise Butler, DC (a chiropractor).
The Viosan site displays eleven products with multiple ingredients and a 4-page "reference guide" with tidbits about each ingredient. Under federal law, it is illegal to market dietary supplements with unapproved claims that they can treat, prevent, cure, or mitigate disease. The site contains the federally required disclaimer that the products are "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." However, the reference guide includes lots of disease-related language that suggests otherwise and, in my opinion, makes the claims illegal:
- Supplementation with Magnesium may . . . lower one's overall blood sugar.
- Present interest in Fenugreek focuses on its benefits for individuals with diabetes and/or high cholesterol.
- Gymnema is regarded as one of the most powerful herbs for blood-sugar control.
- Resveratrol . . . may provide anti-cancer benefits . . . and helps fight age-related diseases.
- Quercetin . . . may help patients with chronic prostatitis, heart disease, cataracts, allergies, asthma, and has also been described to possess positive effects in helping to prevent cancer.
- The use of supplemental Acetyl L-Carnitine as an agent to enhance cognition and reduce problems associated with mental impairment and senile dementia is based on an impressive body of studies documenting ALC's benefits.
- Beta Carotene . . . has been shown to be beneficial in protecting against cancer and heart disease, . . . slowing the progression of cataracts and other related eye disorders, and may decrease the progression of degenerative arthritis.
- Riboflavin has been shown to be effective in the prophylaxis of migraine headaches and may be active against esophageal cancer, in addition to cardiovascular and anti-malarial protection.
- Vitamin B-6 can help prevent heart disease.
- Bifidobacterium breve may be beneficial in the overall treatment of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and others with diarrheal illnesses. Bifidobacterium bacteria have also been used to reduce symptoms related to antibiotic associated diarrhea. Additional proposed uses of probiotics include prevention of urinary tract infections, asthma and allergies.
Viosan's Web site intrigued me because Scott recently achieved notoriety for flooding the airwaves with 30-second TV spots that warn against government-based insurance reform. Scott wants Americans to believe that our government can't be trusted to run a health-care system and that he knows how to do things better . His involvement in the marketing of questionable supplement products is additional evidence that he does not.
- About us. Viosan Web site, accessed Aug 12, 2009.
- Ingredient cross reference guide. Viosan Web site, accessed Aug 12, 2009.
- Barrett S. A skeptical look at Rick Scott and his Conservatives for Patients' Rights propaganda machine. Quackwatch, Aug 14, 2009.
This article was posted on August 14, 2009.