• Google translate:  
Increase Font Sizesmallerreset
Home arrow Commercial Cults arrow Mannatech arrow Mannatech Investigating Study of Its Nutritional Supplements

Mannatech Investigating Study of Its Nutritional Supplements

by David Evans
©1999 Bloomberg, LP

August 6, 1999

Mannatech Inc. is investigating allegations that a study it uses to sell its nutritional supplements wasn't funded by a federal agency or conducted under the auspices of the University of California, as it previously claimed. The Coppell, Texas-based company said it is conducting an internal investigation of the issues, raised by a news report published Wednesday. The study by Dr. Darryl See ranked Mannatech products among the top five of 196 nutritional supplements tested. Meanwhile, the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association said it will publish a correction of See's article on the study. The journal yesterday put a letter from See on its Web site stating that the study wasn't federally funded and that he submitted it to JANA after leaving the U.C. Irvine Medical School. "We regret that this information was not made available to us prior to the peer-review and publication of the article," the journal's co-editors said in a preface to the letter. In his letter, See disclosed two conflicts of interest, also reported Wednesday, that were omitted when the article was published in February. "My wife distributed, resold and/or recommended in her practice products from several of the companies with products in the study," See wrote. She has been a Mannatech distributor since 1997, the earlier news report said.

Paid Consultant

"I was a paid consultant to one of the companies with products evaluated in the study at the time of the manuscript preparation, but not at the time of the study," he also wrote. See has been paid more than $100,000 by Mannatech in speaker's fees and research grants since 1998, along with another $100,000 in royalties for audio tapes touting its supplements, the news report said. On the tapes, See recommends Mannatech supplements for treatment of diseases such as AIDS and cancer. Mannatech, in yesterday's statement, said it learned late Tuesday that the study might not have been federally funded or performed under the auspices of the U.C. Irvine Medical School. In response to a reporter's questions five days earlier, the company said the study was conducted at the university, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Later that day, Mannatech issued a memo to its more than 400,000 distributors in the U.S., Canada and Australia with the same information. "We visited him in his lab at the university. We obtained copies of the NIH grants that funded the study," the memo said. "Dr. See's study did not make false claims." Last week's memo also cited an audit of the study, conducted by statistician Cindy Ford.

Mannatech Official Frustrated

"We paid $30,000 to an independent agency to audit the data and are confident that it is correct," it said. Ford, in an interview last week, said she double-checked the study's calculations and couldn't verify that the data used came from the lab tests See described. Ford said See didn't turn over laboratory notebooks used in the study, despite requests from Kathy Dykman, Mannatech's international medical director for clinical studies. "She was frustrated," said Ford, who also said none of the documents See provided were signed by the lab technicians who performed the tests. Dykman didn't return calls seeking comment. Marikel Chatard, a laboratory technician who See said did many of the tests for his study, said in an interview that she knew nothing about the study. Mannatech shares fell 3/16 to 10 in midafternoon trading. That's down from 11½ at the time of Wednesday's news report.