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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Donald Trump sells snake oil vitamins - vitameatavegamin

It's incredulous, but now we're learning about another of Donald Trump's multiple personalities. 

In addition to being the person nobody but him knew as "John Miller", a strange alter ego to Donald Trump, it turns out he was also a vitamin salesman. If you put a red wig on Donald Trump, it seems to me he might look a lot like a Saturday Night Live version of Lucille Ball when she sold the funny "vitameatavegamin" in one of the classic "I Love Lucy" skits.

Trump Vitamins Were Fortified With B.S.
Reported in "The Daily Beast"
I Love Lucy favorite:
Lucille Ball selling her famous product- seems like Donald Trump was sucking people into a similar comedy skit

You give the Donald your urine and a stack of money? 
That’s what he wanted, in exchange for a customized vitamin regimen that a Harvard doctor deems a ‘scam.’

Call it “Vitamin T.” For several years in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Donald Trump encouraged people to take part in a pseudo-scientific vitamin scheme—all without expressing any concern about how it might potentially endanger people’s health.

Through a multi-level marketing project called The Trump Network, the business mogul encouraged people to take an expensive urine test, which would then be used to personally “tailor” a pricey monthly concoction of vitamins—something a Harvard doctor told The Daily Beast was a straight-up “scam.”

And when The Daily Beast asked a doctor for The Trump Network to defend the products, he wound up deriding the idea of “evidence-based” medicine.

The Trump Network ultimately failed, and its assets were sold off. But it was not just a marketing and business disaster—the actions of the all-but-certain GOP presidential nominee reflect his willingness to license his name to a product without fully vetting it: a casual endorsement of a serious matter, all with the flitting nonchalance that characterizes the many falsehoods he utters.

The project is just another example of Trump’s questionable business practices, from his Trump University (accused by many students of fraud) to his casinos (which went bankrupt so often) to his “tasteless and mealy” signature steaks. And it highlights an essential contradiction in his campaign for the White House. While politician Trump says that he cares about average Joe or Jane, his past shows a shocking indifference.

There was no indication Trump himself ever took the vitamins he promoted, and doctors associated with the project tell The Daily Beast he appeared to endorse the product without ever making any inquiries about its science or what it did to the body.

Trump’s peddling of these products without regard for their safety is emblematic both of his often-incurious approach to business and politics—as well as the dangers of a loosely regulated supplement industry. Based on the The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, vitamins (like the ones sold by Trump) don’t require approval from the Federal Drug Administration.

In this world, unbeknownst to most buyers, pseudoscience is as good as the real thing.
Vitamin companies can claim to improve brain function, clear up skin, and increase energy without a single human study proving that the things they’re selling actually do.

While the FDA urges the $34 billion dollar industry to refrain from “false statements,” and fraudulent labeling, it’s an order that’s hardly policed. The “grey area” that results is rife with distortion, and leaves consumers dangerously ill-informed about what they’re taking. A study from the Drug Testing and Analysis journal in 2015 found synthetic speed hiding in 11 different weight-loss supplements, potentially putting patients with heart conditions in danger.

“If you want a steak or a wine with Trump’s name on it, that’s fine—but if you want to play around with your health and have someone try to sell you something because they think they need to sell you pills, that’s something entirely different,” said Janet Helm, a nutritionist and registered dietitian who writes frequently about diet myths, nutrition trends, and misinformation. “I find it troubling if [Trump didn’t] research… [and] if he didn’t have the right counsel to evaluate the products and the test, that makes me question his judgement.”

One of the major products that the Trump Network sold was PrivaTest, a urine analysis formulated by Ideal Health, a multi-level marketing company focusing on “naturopathic” products. Naturopathy centers on the idea that the body can self-heal through the use of therapeutic substances like herbs and vitamins. Using this urine test, Ideal Health claimed to be able to “tailor” a vitamin regimen to do just that.

In an extensive interview with The Daily Beast, a top doctor from the Trump Network, recalled the now-presidential hopeful’s lack of interest in how the products worked. The doctor asked to remain anonymous to protect himself from potential legal action.

Trump quote:
"I am pleased to be part of this great company and glad you are taking time to learn more about it,” a personal letter from Trump on that website reads.

In 2011, New York Magazine received access to the business mogul as part of a profile on the vitamin scheme. In it, they report that Trump purchased the nutritional company Ideal Health two years prior, rebranding it the Trump Network.

But following financial pressures and disappointed expectations, reported The Washington Post, the Trump Network’s assets were sold off to an organization named Bioceutica, which also sells cosmetics. Neither Trump’s campaign nor Bioceutica responded to a request for comment.

Apparently, Trump had never purchased any part of The Trump Network. Instead, he merely licensed his name and brand to Ideal Health. After the licensing agreement ended in 2011, it was not renewed and Bioceutica purchased its assets for an undisclosed amount.

The doctor who worked with Trump said his disregard for the product was palpable, and ultimately led to the the company’s demise. Perhaps his disregard for “being presidential” will do the same.

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