Prudential FreeCycle … and Champagne! Again!

Well it was actually longer: the route went down Whitehall and along Birdcage Walk, but the Garmin Edge 810 had frozen by this point and took an eternity – after a reboot – to get a GPS fix.

Mannatech and Ambrotose

So once upon a time, a friend who was dying from Motor Neurone Disease wrote a blog about living with the disease. This was a full and frank discussion of the issues, his treatments and his observations. It’s a moving story.

Anyway, one entry mentions – briefly – a food supplement called “Ambrotose”:

“One of the doctor members very kindly gave me some powder which he says has helped his wife enormously. She has had MS for the last seven years. He also has a niece with a muscle wastage complaint who is also taken the same powder. Its trade name is Ambrotose and it is described on the jar as an immune support formula. It is a Food Supplement containing Plant Polysaccharides.

The ingredients are listed as: arabingelactan; aloe vera inner leaf gel powder; rice starch; gum ghatti; tagacanth; vegetarian glucosamine hydrochloride; vegetarian algie extract powder. Whether it will do any good or not remains to be seen but my friend is convinced it will slow things down. What it costs I have no idea but I’m pretty sure there’s no way I will get it on the NHS. I will try it for a month or so and then decide whether to continue with it….”

That’s all it says and is the only blog entry on the subject. The entry is now over 6 years old. Mark has since passed away.

Imagine my surprise when I recently received a “Cease and Desist” e-mail from a company I’d never heard of called Mannatech:

7/17/2015

TO: PRIVATE REGISTRANT

RE: Impermissible Use of Health Claims Attributed to Mannatech Products
http://www.dmarkcato.com/tag/ambrotose/

Dear : PRIVATE REGISTRANT

Mannatech, Incorporated (“Mannatech”) routinely reviews the internet to insure our products are being properly represented to the public. Health claims which go beyond the specific claims approved for Mannatech products and/or claims which state suggest or imply Mannatech products cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease are against Mannatech policies.

Your website (identified above) contains statements which are contrary to Mannatech”s policies. You are hereby requested to immediately remove from your website any statement which (i) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products prevent, treat or cure disease, (ii) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products are a substitute for a doctor”s standard of care, and/or (iii) otherwise violates Mannatech”s Associate Policies & Procedures.

The removal of this type of impermissible information from the internet is of great importance to protect Mannatech”s right to conduct business. We request that you contact the undersigned at jdiaz@mannatech.com within five (5) business days from the receipt of this letter to (i) confirm the offending statements/representations have been removed from the website and (ii) confirm you will refrain from making such representations in connection with Mannatech nutritional products in the future (iv) address any concerns or questions relating to the issue raised herein.

Please keep in mind that it is your responsibility to ensure that any websites, blogs, social/networking mediums, other electronic media, etc. created by you or by a third party on your behalf used in connection with your Mannatech Independent Associate business complies with Mannatech Associate policies.

We thank you in advance for your immediate attention and cooperation, and again stress the importance of complying with our request and contacting the undersigned as requested herein.

Respectfully,

The Mannatech Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department

Note: Nothing contained in this letter shall be construed as a waiver of any rights Mannatech, Incorporated has at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.

This initially annoyed me and then it amused me: the blog entry apparently is “against Mannatech policies”. Well good for them! It also “violates Mannatech”s [sic] Associates Policies & Procedures”. Really? Wow! If only I knew what those were, eh? And what “Mannatech Independent Associate business” are they talking about?

So I naturally ignored this fuckwit’s e-mail.

7/23/2015

To: PRIVATE REGISTRANT

RE: Impermissible Use of Health Claims Attributed to Mannatech Products
http://www.dmarkcato.com/tag/ambrotose/

Dear PRIVATE REGISTRANT:

A few days ago Mannatech, Incorporated (“Mannatech”) contacted you requesting your immediate assistance in removing statements from your website (identified above) which violate Mannatech Associate policies in connection with claims about our nutritional products. Our records do not reflect you”ve made the requested changes to your website or contacted the undersigned regarding this matter – this automated letter was generated accordingly.

Mannatech requests you immediately remove from your website any statement which (i) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products prevent, treat or cure disease, (ii) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products are a substitute for a doctor”s standard of care, and/or (iii) otherwise violates Mannatech”s Associate Policies & Procedures.

We further request that you contact the undersigned at Jdiaz@mannatech.com within five (5) business days from the receipt of this letter to (i) confirm the offending statements/representations have been removed from the website and (ii) acknowledge that you will refrain from making such representations in connection with Mannatech nutritional products in the future.

It is our hope that you now fully appreciate our concerns and will take prompt action to avoid escalating the matter further. The removal of this type of impermissible information from the internet is of great importance to protect Mannatech”s right to conduct business.

If you have already complied with the original letter from Mannatech concerning this matter, please disregard this automated letter. You will be contacted regarding the next steps in the compliance process in the near future.

Respectfully,

The Mannatech Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department

Note: Nothing contained in this letter shall be construed as a waiver of any rights Mannatech, Incorporated has at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.

No. I don’t fully appreciate their concerns; I couldn’t give a toss at this point about them or their products. So I continued to treat it with the apathy it deserved.

This upset them…

7/30/2015

To: PRIVATE REGISTRANT

RE: Impermissible Use of Health Claims Attributed to Mannatech Products
http://www.dmarkcato.com/tag/ambrotose/

Dear PRIVATE REGISTRANT:

Mannatech, Incorporated (“Mannatech”) has attempted to contact you on two separate occasions seeking your immediate assistance in removing statements from your website (identified above) which violate Mannatech Associate policies in connection with claims about our nutritional products. Our records do not reflect you”ve made the requested changes to your website or contacted the undersigned regarding this matter.

Mannatech demands you immediately remove from your website any statement which (i) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products prevent, treat or cure disease, (ii) states, suggests or implies Mannatech nutritional products are a substitute for a doctor”s standard of care, and/or (iii) otherwise violates Mannatech”s Associate Policies & Procedures.

The removal of this type of impermissible information from the internet is of great importance to protect Mannatech”s right to conduct business. Mannatech is prepared to take legal action to secure your immediate compliance with this demand, including litigation seeking injunctive relief, damages and attorney”s fees as allowed under Texas law.

Due to the serious nature of this issue, failure to contact the undersigned at Jdiaz@mannatech.com within three (3) business days from the receipt of this letter will result in Mannatech taking additional action to secure your compliance.

Respectfully,

The Mannatech Legal, Ethics and Compliance Department

Note: Nothing contained in this letter shall be construed as a waiver of any rights Mannatech, Incorporated has at law or in equity, all of which are expressly reserved.

Ooh! So they’re now demanding I remove any statement about their products from the website. I’m quaking and Mark is no doubt turning in his grave at the thought…

So I thought I’d actually have a look at who Mannatech are and what this Ambrotose stuff is. Go and have a look and you’ll see that – despite all the jargon and faux scientific phrases being bandied about – it’s just a dietary supplement; a placebo if you like and an expensive one at that.  Indeed, their whole website is carefully worded so as not to actually make any specific claims about any of their products at all. It’s a work of genius! And then if you Google them further, you’ll see references to a lawsuit and issues with them being accused of being no more than a multi-level marketing outfit. It makes interesting reading (unlike their website). Their MLM status no doubt explains all that bollocks about their associate policies too. I can see why they’re nervous too: look at what the Texas Attorney General had to say:

“…Documents filed in Travis County district court reveal Mannatech’s scheme to exploit families, including those challenged by cancer, Down’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis and other serious illnesses. According to investigators, exaggerated claims about the therapeutic benefits of Mannatech’s dietary supplements and nutritional products were unlawfully used to increase sales. The attorney general’s enforcement action asserts that Mannatech’s deceptive practices pose a health risk to seriously-ill consumers who may forgo traditional medical attention because of the company’s false claims.

Texans will not tolerate illegal marketing schemes that prey upon the sick and unsuspecting, Attorney General Abbott said. Aided by an army of multi-level sellers and their fictitious claims about its products, Mannatech has aggressively marketed supplements to countless unwitting purchasers. With today’s enforcement action, the Office of the Attorney General seeks to shut down an elaborate scheme to defraud innocent consumers across the nation…”

Ouch!

Almost as ‘ouchy’ as their paying out $6M to make the case go away.

Let’s see what happens next with this bunch…

Third Day in a Row!

Three days in a row: walking to work and then running home, but that’s it until the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle this weekend.

Second Day in a Row and a New PB

Pretty sure this was spurred on by Alison running with me. My second walk to work/run home of the week.

Bloody Tourists! (Again)

Got slowed down at Shad Thames or I’d have beaten my PB – grr!

30 Minutes … Dead (well, not quite)

Well that wasn’t too shabby: my first run/commute since Germany.

Not Too Shabby

My last run/commute before I head off on holiday and quite a sticky one at that.

More of the Same

Quite windy and with the threat of more rain, but a good time tonight.

Second Day Running (Geddit?)

Well that’s a surprise! Second day in a row of walking to work and running home and this was a good time, especially considering my stopping for tourists!

Another Walk to Work, Run Home

Really warm and back from a bout of food poisoning so harder than usual.




%d bloggers like this: