At last night’s GOP debate presidential candidate Ben Carson lied about his connection with a Christian nutritional supplement company accused of hustling the gullible with bogus claims of miracle cures for deadly diseases.
Carson was asked about his involvement with nutritional supplement company Mannatech at the Oct. 28 Republican presidential debate hosted by CNBC in Boulder, Colo.
Moderator Carl Quintanilla asked:
There’s is a company called Mannatech, a maker of nutritional supplements, with which you had a 10-year relationship. They offered claims they could cure autism, cancer. They paid $7 million to settle a deceptive marketing lawsuit in Texas, and yet your involvement continues. Why?
Carson, a former pediatric neurosurgeon, replied:
Well, that’s easy to answer: I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda. And this is what happens in our society — total propaganda. I did a couple speeches for them. I did speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.
The evidence shows that Carson was paid to give speeches during events hosted by Mannatech Inc., telling how the company’s supplements helped him after a 2002 cancer diagnosis.
The National Review points out:
Carson’s interactions with Mannatech, a nutritional-supplement company based in suburban Dallas, date back to 2004, when he was a speaker at the company’s annual conferences, MannaFest and MannaQuest. He also spoke at Mannatech conferences in 2011 and 2013, and spoke about “glyconutrients” in a PBS special as recently as last year.
The Wall Street Journal notes that Carson has often made reference to a long and lucrative association with the company that he says has been good for both his career and his health.
As far as we can tell, Carson was not a paid employee or official endorser of the product. However, his claim suggests he has no ties to Mannatech whatsoever. In reality, he got paid to deliver speeches to Mannatech and appeared in promotional videos, and he consistently delivered glowing reviews of the nutritional supplements. As a world-renowned surgeon, Carson’s opinion on health issues carries weight, and Mannatech has used Carson’s endorsement to its advantage.
We rate Carson’s claim False.
The Atlantic reports:
The Wall Street Journal reports that Carson wholeheartedly endorsed Mannatech supplements during those paid speeches, and even went so far as to suggest the bogus supplements helped him overcome prostate cancer:
Carson first spoke out in favor of Mannatech products over a decade ago when he claimed that the Texas-based company’s “glyconutritional supplements,” which included larch-tree bark and aloe vera extract, helped him overcome prostate cancer.
I started taking the product, and within about three weeks, my (cancer) symptoms went away.
Abbott claimed that the Dallas-based company and its sales representatives repeatedly exaggerated the medical efficacy of their products. Claiming “Texans will not tolerate illegal marketing schemes that prey upon the sick and unsuspecting,” Abbott’s office said:
Aided by an army of multi-level sellers and their fictitious claims about its products, Mannatech has aggressively marketed supplements to countless unwitting purchasers.
Abbott also emphasized that the company’s claims were “not supported by legitimate scientific studies, nor are its products approved as drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”
The Atlantic reports Mannatech paid a $6 million settlement in 2009 in which the company admitted no wrongdoing:
Under the agreed final judgment, Mannatech agreed not to advertise or otherwise claim that its dietary supplements can cure, treat, mitigate, or prevent disease.
In one video for Mannatech last year that remains online, Carson discusses his experiences with nutritional supplements while seated next to the company’s logo. Carson said in the 2013 video:
The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that they recognize that when God made us, he gave us the right fuel. And that fuel was the right kind of healthy food. Basically what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore natural diet as a medicine or as a mechanism for maintaining health.
Bottom line: Carson’s denial about his involvement with the Christian nutritional supplement company is easily debunked. In fact, Carson was paid a great deal of money to endorse Mannatech supplements, and the trusted doctor even went so far as to imply the bogus products cured his prostate cancer.
Watch Carson’s answer at the CNBC debate:https://youtu.be/sItPCLbzCBM
Watch Carson promote Christian nutritional supplement company Mannatech: