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Home arrow Commercial Cults arrow Mannatech arrow Mannatech Says It Was Misled by Doctor and May Sue

Mannatech Says It Was Misled by Doctor and May Sue

by David Evans

©1999 Bloomberg, LP
August 20, 1999

Mannatech Inc. said it has cut all ties to the California physician who wrote a now- discredited medical journal article used by the nutritional- supplements company to sell its pills.

It now says Dr. Darryl See, the article's author, backed his claims with false documents, and that it's considering a lawsuit against him. See's study ranked Mannatech's pills, including its flagship Ambrotose, in the top five of 196 nutritional supplements tested.

A company investigation confirmed a Bloomberg News report that See's study was neither funded by the National Institutes of Health nor conducted under the auspices of the University of California at Irvine medical school, as it claimed.

"We have disassociated ourselves completely and unequivocally from Dr. See," said Samuel Caster, Mannatech's president. "Unfortunately, Dr. See misrepresented himself and his work."

Mannatech also quoted from a Bloomberg News report in which Marikel Chatard, the technician who See said did most of the lab tests for the study, denied participating in it.

The company said it verified Dr. See's claims before using the his study.

"We did everything we possibly could to ensure the material was authentic," Caster added.

That included paying $30,000 for an audit of See's study, which it previously used to defend it. Bloomberg News reported that See never provided the laboratory notebooks requested by the auditor to authenticate his data.

400,000 Distributors

Mannatech still hasn't disclosed that it paid See more than $100,000 to speak at sale rallies and conduct research, and that his wife has been a Mannatech distributor since 1997, as See told Bloomberg in an interview. Mannatech sells its pills through an army of more than 400,000 distributors.

Company executives weren't available for comment. See resigned from the university's faculty after an investigation censured him for violating research rules, including falsifying documents and conducting laboratory experiments on a rabbit without sufficient anesthesia.

The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, which published See's article, has stopped selling reprints of See's articles, books and videotapes.

See recommends Mannatech's supplements for treatment of diseases such as AIDS and cancer in an audio cassette distributed by Mannatech.

On Friday, Bloomberg News reported the NIH is investigating Mannatech's relationship with Dr. Robert Ortmann, one of its scientists who is also a part-time Mannatech salesman. The agency ordered him not to appear at a company sales rally tomorrow in Olympia, Washington.

Coppell, Texas-based Mannatech shares today fell 1/16 to 7 7/8. They've lost one-third of their value this month.