BeActive Brace Loses Some Sciatica Treatment Claims
August 19th, 2014
Unsubstantiated health claims appear to be catching up with the BeActive Brace.
In August, the beactivebrace.com features and benefits section had claimed that the brace “provides sciatic and related back relief.” Now, the phrase under the same section simply reads, “provides back pain relief.”
As of this writing on Dec. 19, the site’s only mention of the words “sciatic” or “sciatica” comes about 40 seconds into an embedded TV commercial that runs on a loop in the top right-hand corner of the homepage. At that point in the video, a man identified as Dr. Paul Lewandowski says, “BeActive provides firm pressure behind the knee on the specific pressure point which can help relieve the pain and suffering from sciatica.”
A previous version of the commercial, though, had pushed sciatica treatment claims harder. The video embedded at the top of this article is a version that played on the product’s site during August. Five seconds into it, text appears that indicates that the BeActive Brace can treat “pain caused by chronic lower back pain, sciatica and pregnancy.” The commercial on beactivebrace.com no longer carries this text.
So what sparked these changes? Apparently, the FDA. Plymouth Direct, the company that markets the BeActive Brace, said in a press release:
When we first learned of the FDA claims, we were quick to meet with that agency and to make its necessary adjustments.
An advertising self-regulatory body announced it had referred the health claims to the FTC and FDA. The group that made the referral to the federal agencies, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulating Program (ERSP), said it took the action after Plymouth Direct failed to agree to the group’s recommendations to change or drop certain health claims. A December statement read:
ERSP determined that the evidence in the case record did not support claims indicating that the product would be effective in providing relief from all sciatica conditions, particularly those that originate in the upper extremities, and sciatica pain that is referred from the two trigger points … that are not stimulated by the BeActive Brace.
But Plymouth Direct responded in the press release, “The ERSP statement is a dollar short and a dollar late. We are well past these issues with the regulatory agencies and this serves no purpose to the industry or our consumers.”
Speaking of consumers, in the past three years, they have lodged nearly 150 complaints against Plymouth Direct with the Better Business Bureau, which as of this writing gives the company an F rating. Forty-two of the complaints relate to advertising and/or sales issues. Plymouth Direct markets several “As Seen on TV” products in addition to the BeActive Brace, including Mighty Putty and the Gyro Bowl.
The ERSP statement suggests that the FTC and FDA will have further comment on the purported pain-relieving health claims that the BeActive Brace touts in advertising. Until then, consumers would be wise to question this product.
TINA.org sought comment from BeActive Brace but we did not receive a response.
For more of our coverage on challenged treatment claims, click here.
This story was updated on 12/19/2014.