Summary of Action
However, the study has several material flaws and does not support the benefit claims promoted in the company’s marketing materials. As a result, on April 23, 2019, TINA.org filed a complaint with the California District Attorneys, who are part of the California Food Drug and Medical Device Task Force, urging them to re-open their investigation and take appropriate enforcement action.
Previously, in 2016, TINA.org investigated the marketing of My Pillow, Inc. (MyPillow) — a Minnesota company that has sold millions of foam-filled bed pillows across the country — and found that the company was making deceptive and unsubstantiated health claims in its marketing of the pillow. Specifically, MyPillow claimed, both directly and through the use of hundreds of customer testimonials, that its pillow could remedy or alleviate the symptoms of a multitude of medical conditions, including, for example, migraines, restless leg syndrome, TMJ, sleep apnea, insomnia, fibromyalgia, neck pain, allergies, and asthma.
As the company admits, however, these claims were not based on clinical studies, an essential requirement for making truthful — and legal — health claims, such as the ones made by MyPillow.
As a result of these findings, TINA.org sent a warning letter to MyPillow’s Founder and CEO Mike Lindell on February 1, 2016 alerting him to the issues and requesting that the company immediately remedy the deceptive marketing. Days after receiving TINA.org’s warning letter, the company removed the prominent health claims from the homepage of its website —www.MyPillow.com — and removed the numerous web pages on the site devoted entirely to touting the multitude of health conditions the pillow could allegedly help.
Due to these corrective actions, TINA.org did not elevate its investigation by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. TINA.org did, however, provide its findings to California consumer protection officials who were investigating the company and, in October 2016, a group of California district attorneys filed a lawsuit against the company for, among other things, making unsubstantiated health claims about its pillows. The lawsuit resulted in an agreement between the company and state officials that was entered as a Stipulated Judgment and requires My Pillow to pay $995,000 in civil penalties, give $100,000 to homeless and domestic violence shelters in California, refrain from, among other things, making unsubstantiated health claims and false representations about the pillows’ benefits, and stop promoting its product as the “official pillow” of the National Sleep Foundation. The agreement was signed by a state court judge on October 31, 2016 is now a final order.
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