Iowa’s attorney general filed suit today in Polk County District Court against a Nebraska-based stem cell therapy center.
Attorney General Tom Miller accuses Regenerative Medicine and Anti-Aging Institutes of Omaha of making deceptive, misleading claims that targeted older Iowans. “They made incredibly strong claims about dealing with pain, back pain, knees, hips, arthritis, but they went beyond that,” Miller says. “They made claims that they could reverse COPD to some extent, and even in the Alzheimer’s area.”
The suit alleges the company’s salespeople used high-pressure tactics to persuade possibly hundreds of Iowans to buy unproven, expensive procedures that aren’t covered by health insurance. “They made claims that, as their title indicated, that they could roll back aging,” Miller says. “They even quantified it at some point as three years, they’d give you three years back in terms of aging.”
The marketing campaigns were highly aggressive, Miller says. “They had newspaper ads, they had TV ads, and what they focused on in Iowa, they recruited people to come to educational seminars concerning their product and they did 90 of those in Iowa,” he says. “They were essentially high-pressure sales, it wasn’t a seminar as much as a high-pressure sales event.”
Those events were held in cities across the state between April of 2018 and September of 2019. Nebraska’s attorney general is also filing a simultaneous lawsuit in that state today, accusing the company of fraud. It’s still unclear, Miller says, how many people in the two states may have bought into the “wild” claims.
“The cost is considerable, anywhere from $1,400 to $27,000 to have a treatment,” Miller says. “They pushed a lot for the treatments that cost $16- and $17,000.” Miller’s office is seeking an injunction against the defendants and consumer restitution.
The suit also seeks civil penalties of up to $40,000 for each violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and $5,000 for each violation of the Older Iowans Law.