'20/20' Interview with Sam Caster

(OFF-MIKE)

INTERVIEWER

Uh, okay, Sam Caster, thank you very much for participating in this "20/20" interview.

SAM CASTER Sure.

INTERVIEWER Let me just ask you first off about, um … what your feeling is about when associates go past what Manatech(?) can claim legally. When …

(BUZZING NOISE IN BACKGROUND)

INTERVIEWER

… there have been occasions that I've seen where, in fact, have disciplined associates for saying too much or claiming too much. So when you hear these claims what do you think?

SAM CASTER Well, I think, first of all, uh, it's the context in which a claim is made. For instance, what we make sure our associates understand, Jim, is that dietary supplements are not designed to treat cure or mitigate disease. And we put that in all of our literature We put it in all of our training. We put it on every bottle of product. So the claims that we regulate are when people try to associate our product, branded name with an inappropriate claim for treatment, cure, or mitigation.

But then there's a broad spectrum of things that are utilized in the marketplace that do not constipate (sic) a … a treatment for cure claim. For instance, the dietary supplement law allows for the distribution of educational materials. So, for instance, uh … a retrospective study or a prospective study or a case study, or quality-of-life survey on … let's say something like cystic fibrosis. Where in the case we did a quality-of-life survey with a 108 families with kids with CF.

And these are kids that are under doctors' care. These are kids that are taking standard of care treatment and a what we were looking for, and what we're always looking for, is the quality of life improvement that can be achieved through the intervention of good quality nutrition.

INTERVIEWER And this, of course, was a double-blind clinical study?

SAM CASTER No. This was not a double-blind study. This is quality-of-life survey. Uh (Overlap)

INTERVIEWER So really …

SAM CASTER Yes.

INTERVIEWER … so how much scientific basis does that really have?

SAM CASTER I think it has a tremendous amount of scientific basis for quality-of-life improvement. Uh, for instance, when we were going to do the quality-of-life improvement survey, we called The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and asked them, "Which survey would you recommend?" And they gave us the one that they thought had the most credibility.

So in dietary supplements, if you're not looking for an alternative cure to a disease, what you're trying to validate is the integration of dietary supplements into standard-of-care therapies. And what quality of life might that bring? And so when associates talk in reference sometimes to materials that are published under the guidelines of DeShay(?), it's totally appropriate.

Now it is our responsibility to make sure that they articulate those things appropriately and we spent a lot of time training our associates showing them how to distinguish a true cure claim from a quality-of-life enhancement claim.

INTERVIEWER And how many times do you estimate, or do you know …

SAM CASTER Uh-hm.

INTERVIEWER … that your associates have, in fact, gone over the line and you've had to discipline them?

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