Plexus and Ethics

Lately, I have been a little bit bothered by what I am seeing by other pharmacists regarding the MLM company Plexus. I posted a more professional spin on my thoughts in Pharmacy Times, but I wanted to go deeper into the issues.

Updated: Read this link: https://www.truthinadvertising.org/what-you-should-know-about-plexus/

Plexus claims on their website many different benefits of their products, all with an asterick leading the reader to the bottom of the website,

"Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease"

The problem is that their own ambassadors make claims that are not backed up by any study. First let's list out all the things I have personally seen posted on social media in regards to this product:

  • Plexus Slim helped a patient with Crohn's discontinue the need for Remicade and other pharmaceuticals. At the end of the paragraph is the same statement " This one person's experience. Plexus does not claim to prevent, treat, or cure any disease." But you just did. You just claimed it is treating Crohn's and then place a disclaimer at the end of the claim. Putting the disclaimer in doesn't cancel out what was just claimed.

  • Plexus Slim treats ADHD in children. Here, here and here.

  • Plexus Slim treats anxiety and depression and other mental health illnesses. Here, here and here.

  • Plexus Slim lowers cholesterol and weight.

  • Plexus Slim isn't about weight loss (why Slim in the name? because initially it was about weight loss, then they figured out how to market it from women professionals (nurses, pharmacists, etc... for gut health and inflammation) but it's about GUT HEALTH,  INFLAMMATION and BLOOD SUGAR.

  • Plexus Slim cures the common cold.

  • Plexus Slim cures PTSD.

  • Plexus Sli treats arthritis.

What does Plexus Slim (the pink drink) contain?

Plexus Slim is a weight loss supplement manufactured by the network marketing company Plexus Worldwide, Inc. According to Plexus Worldwide’s website (accessed on August 13, 2015), each serving (1 “Slim Pack”) of Plexus Slim contains the following ingredients.

1. 200 mcg chromium (as chromium polynicotinate)

2. 530 mg of a proprietary blend of:

  • Green coffee bean extract (containing an unknown, unlisted amount of chlorogenic acid and less than 2% natural caffeine)
  • Garcinia cambogia fruit extract
  • Alpha lipoic acid

3. Other ingredients: polydextrose, citric acid, natural flavors, beet extract (for color), stevia leaf (Stevia Rebaudiana) extract, luo han guo fruit extract, guar gum, silicone dioxide.

They discuss their findings from the angle of natural health and cite natural health websites; however even people deeply rooted in natural health and wellness cite the claims of Plexus Slim.

According to a news website:

The FDA issued a warning letter to Plexus Worldwide stating three of its products were "not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses." The letter went on to say "these drugs are misbranded. You should take prompt action to correct the violations."

That's exactly what the company did.

"We don't want to make claims that are not there, etc. So we take it very seriously," Clark said. "We adjusted the website language and made those changes. And now we're in compliance with the FDA's guidelines and everything is good."

Clark has been with Plexus since 2011, and in that time the company has grown at lightning speed.

"In 2010, we did about $1 million in sales. 2014, we were north of $300 million," Clark said.

He admits the company would not be where it is without its ambassadors.

No, Plexus would not be where it is today without its ambassadors making the outright claims about what Plexus can do without a single study or evidence to back them up. They use money and awards to gray the ethics of medical professionals who desperately want out of their 9 to 5 jobs and will say anything to sell their products. #doyoutrustme?

No, I do not trust you. I trust double-blind placebo studies and medical evidence of proof. I trust that if Plexus Slim was really capable of treating so many things, we would do away with most medications and give Plexus Slim as treatment in the hospital and community.

Don't be swayed by a drink that claims it can do so many things. Trust the evidence. And believe me, if Plexus Slim was able to do all the things it can do, the company would take the time to set up these studies rather than removing the language and allowing the ambassadors to do all the misleading.

Should Board Certification in Pharmacy Equal a Residency?

The Pharmacist's Manifesto