Note: BestDietForMe.com does NOT provide medical advice or diagnoses. You should always consult your physician first, before beginning any weight loss regimen or if suffering from a medical condition.
Retail Diet pills Market Summary
Diet pills sales were down 5% in 2005, as new competitors entered the market and the post-ephedra ban’s effects lingered on and dampened consumer’s enthusiasm for these products. In addition, there was more government scrutiny of this category, and ultimately fines levied on several major marketers of heavily advertised and popular brands. In addition, consumers may be growing weary of claims of fantastic results, which they are not experiencing.
Competitors have already switched to new ingredients other than ephedra (like Hoodia, green tea extract, chromium, etc.), and will continue to do so. We also think that mail order and infomercials will remain popular with the do-it-yourself dieter, despite FTC fines and regulatory actions.
The biggest competition for OTC diet pills is new prescription diet drugs that may enter the market.
It is only new product innovations and continued heavy advertising that will support this very moderate growth. For example, SLIMQUICK was the first OTC diet pill to offer consumers a comprehensive diet and exercise program and a free 32-page booklet. Slimage is targeted at women over age 35, and promises a weight loss product that defies the visible signs of aging. It also offers a free weight loss booklet, with a walking program and recipes. Marketers will likely need to complement their diet pills with more—informational websites (as Slim-Fast has done with meal replacements), booklets, guides, and appealing to specific niches (women, men, elderly overweight, etc.). Other health benefits and boosting energy will be touted along with weight loss.
Description - A Checkered Company History: Metabolife Intl.
This company was at the right place at the right time, as far as a weight loss products are concerned. Soon after the government basically said that it would not regulate dietary supplements (via the Dietary Supplement Act of 1994), the company began to build a powerhouse of a brand that would become a household name. They enjoyed this popularity from 1996 to 2002, as consumers bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Metabolife 356® capsules each year, mainly via independent distributors.
Soaring demand forced CEO Ellis to limit the number of multi-level distributors he signed up to sell the product. According to Ellis, in 2000, more than $1 million worth of Metabolife 356® was sold every day, and publications listed it as the most popular dietary supplement on the market.
The entry price to be a distributor was only $25, and the company claimed 50,000 distributors. When Ellis started the firm, he decided to bypass the traditional channels of health food stores and specialty retailers and take the message directly to the public. He gave the product away to radio DJs to have them promote Metabolife on the air if they liked it.
The brand was so popular that the company identified at least 27 different products on the market that were copies of Metabolife, using Metabo… as the prefix of the name (i.e. Metabolize, Metabolift, etc.)
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, in a Sept. 2006 article, after more than a year of wrangling, stakeholders in Metabolife International's bankruptcy agreed to settle the majority of personal-injury lawsuits related to the company's banned ephedra diet pill for $56 million. Creditors and shareholders said in a court filing that they reached agreement on the most vexing issue in the case: the amount it would take to settle 257 separate ephedra claims not covered by the company's insurers.
Metabolife, once the nation's leading producer of ephedra products, made its three owners wealthy. But critics maintain the company misrepresented science and used its political clout to fend off attempts by state and federal regulators to regulate ephedra. As the number of injuries and deaths linked to the herbal stimulant grew, Metabolife's reputation and sales took a dive. In 2004, the federal government banned all ephedra supplements, including Metabolife's top-selling Metabolife 356.
Faced with falling revenue, hundreds of lawsuits and investigations by the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2005. Co-founder Bradley, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, was sentenced to six months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Bradley also paid the IRS more than $6 million in back taxes, penalties and interest.
Another Metabolife co-founder, Michael Ellis, faced federal charges that he lied to drug regulators about the safety of Metabolife 356, as well as weapons charges. Michael Blevins, the third Metabolife co-founder, pleaded guilty to weapons charges. He and Ellis were convicted of federal methamphetamine charges in 1991 and can't own firearms.
Since then, the company's assets were sold to Ideasphere (ISI), which was launched in 2001 as a company providing consumers with a one-stop wellness solution, consisting of nutritional products, healthy lifestyle programs, and content. It also acquired the troubled supplement company Twinlab Corp., as well as Nature's Herbs and Alvita Teas. Rebus, the last arm, is a leading consumer health and science content developer.
ISI had plans to enter the Asian market (where Herbalife and Shaklee have been very successful), with the help of self-improvement guru Tony Robbins. Robbins would be developing complementary motivational programs to leverage Metabolife.
Ephedra was the main ingredient in what was once Metabolife's main source of revenue and primary product, Metabolife 356. Ephedra is harmful to the body and is known to cause insomnia, rapid heartbeat, heart attack, stroke, seizure, nervousness and high blood pressure. The company transitioned its business to ephedra-free products in 2003, but had to commit a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to the defense of lawsuits by product users. This essentially brought the company down, to the point of it having to declare bankruptcy, then selling its assets to Ideasphere, which swooped in like a vulture to rescue a blockbuster brand.
While the Metabolife product has been a controversial story, the plan still boasts being the answer to control your appetite, burn fat and lose weight.
ISI now sells Metabolife, which offers a variety of products now containing
new ingredients that still claim to control your appetite, burn fat and lose
weight. We're not sure what the thousands of independent contractors are doing
now, but Metabolife can easily be found on the Internet and in retail stores.
Metabolife products include the following:
In our opinion, herbal supplement formulas lack the scientific proof to be considered as part of a healthy diet plan for achieving and maintaining long term weight loss. We believe that use of diet pills alone falls short in that it does not educate dieters on healthy diet habits, and does not address the psychological issues many dieters face, as do many traditional weight loss programs. A diet program that fails to recognize these two important components may not sufficiently serve the needs of many dieters. Overall, we feel it would be unwise to rely on an herbal supplement as a long-term weight solution.
The information on this web site is intended for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Before starting any weight loss program, it is recommended that you consult your physician or other health care professional.
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