Jameel at the Muqata writes about the multi-level “pyramid” scheme used to market Agel, an overpriced and unproven vitamin supplement. The highest-level marketers have made a lot of money, but hundreds at the bottom will lose their investment unless they can convince enough others to invest and market as well. Most large “Anglo” communities in Israel have several Agel representatives. (Agel hasn’t discovered mine yet. Please stay away.)
According to a comment on Jameel’s post by an Agel representative, a month’s supply of one type of supplement costs NIS 1000, or about $250.
In related news, Haaretz reports that an Israeli woman who used and marketed Herbalife products is suing the company over damage to her liver.
An Israeli woman filed a NIS 2.5 million lawsuit yesterday against Herbalife Israel, claiming that the companies’ products had caused her chronic liver disease, with the risk of future liver failure necessitating a transplant.
In her suit, submitted to district court, Mali Nir, 54, alleged that products marketed by the California-based nutritional-supplements and weight-control company and its Israel affiliate as natural and promoting “health for life” destroyed her health.
The suit claims that she “was never advised that consuming the companies’ products could cause irreversible liver damage, and that they could even be poisonous to the body.”
Nir said she began taking Herbalife supplements in 1998 and even signed on as an Herbalife distributor. She says that the first sign of a problem surfaced in 2001, when she began to experience fatigue and weakness. She then discovered that she had serious liver damage.
When she stopped taking the supplements, her liver function reportedly returned to normal, but with indications of cirrhosis of the liver, along with problems that included pain, chronic fatigue, weakness and insomnia.
Attached to the suit was a medical opinion from Hadassah Hospital internist Dr. Mayer Brezis. In it Brezis stated that research literature from as far back as the 1990s reported the risk of liver damage from herbal products, and that there was a high probability that the Herbalife products caused Nir’s liver problems.
The suit also alleges that Israeli researchers documented 12 cases of severe liver damage similar to Nir’s in patients who used Herbalife products like the ones she took.
Not everything advertised as natural is truly natural. And not everything natural is good for you. No matter how convincing the pitch, companies and stores that market “health” products are usually more interested in selling than in protecting your health.