Thursday, March 18, 2004

Sex pill maker sued over claims

By James McNair
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For eight months, Dayton resident David Parker took the pills that were supposed to significantly enhance his sexual performance.

Nothing happened, he claims. And he said the maker of Enzyte, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals of Forest Park, didn't live up to its advertised promise to double his money back. On Wednesday, Parker filed a class-action lawsuit against Berkeley, alleging deceptive trade practices and fraud.

"He was unhappy with it," said Parker's lawyer, Jeffrey Goldenberg of Cincinnati. "The literature he received said in eight to 10 months he would see the maximum benefit from the product." Goldenberg said Parker used the product for eight months and saw no increase in the size of his penis.

Berkeley owner Steve Warshak could not be reached for comment on the suit.

The suit is the first of its kind against Enzyte, which was introduced in 2001 and is promoted in TV ads by a character named Smiling Bob. The Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau say they have received more than 1,600 complaints about Berkeley's billing for Enzyte and another herbal product, a female libido enhancer called Avlimil, but the state has taken no action against the company.

In the suit filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, Parker says he bought an eight-month supply of Enzyte on Oct. 23, 2001, for $399.60. The literature that accompanied the pills, he said, instructed him not to stop taking them. "You will reach your maximum potential at the eight-month mark," said one passage cited by the suit.

Parker states in the suit that he gave up on Enzyte in June 2002 and invoked Berkeley's "double your money back" guarantee. After "many months and multiple unsuccessful attempts" to collect, he said he received only a portion of what he paid.

"In our opinion, the primary effect Enzyte had on its users was to shrink the size of their wallets," said John Murdock, Goldenberg's law partner.

Last summer, Berkeley dropped its claims Enzyte enhanced organ size. It has since billed Enzyte as a "once-a-day tablet for natural male enhancement." Warshak, who founded Berkeley while running an advertising and promotions firm for sports facilities, said in a February interview that he based the product's claims on a survey of 100 Enzyte users.

"When we brought that to new partners who know this industry a lot better than we did, it was clear that unless it was a third-party independent trial, you shouldn't use it," Warshak said.

The lawsuit seeks compensation and punitive damages on behalf of all Enzyte buyers, except in California, where a separate suit is being filed. Warshak said in February that 2 million men have used Enzyte.


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