Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scientific advisory board

Herbalife's Scientific Advisory Board is chaired by David Heber, M.D. Ph.D, F.A.C.P., F.A.C.N., who is professor of medicine and public health and the founding director of the Center for Human Nutrition in the Department of Medicine at UCLA.

According to a 2004 Forbes article, Dr. Heber joined the board at roughly the same time Herbalife made a $3 million donation to establish the Mark Hughes Cellular & Molecular Nutrition Laboratory at his Center for Human Nutrition, leading to criticism of Heber's actions as an inappropriate conflict of interest.

Louis J. Ignarro, Ph.D., a Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine, is also a member of Herbalife's Scientific Advisory Board.

Ignarro worked with Herbalife to develop Niteworks, a dietary supplement designed to boost the body's own production of nitric oxide, and later became a member of the company's Scientific Advisory Board.

Ignarro endorsed this product in exchange for a royalty agreement reported to have earned his consulting firm over $1 million in the first 12 months.

Ignarro also promoted Niteworks' ingredients in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, without disclosing his financial interest to the publication. He presents a one-hour Herbalife promotional video for Niteworks
After Ignarro's ties to Herbalife were revealed, the journal issued a correction to the article, citing Ignarro's undisclosed "conflict of interest".

UCLA conducted its own investigation and determined that Ignarro did not act improperly as all the research was done in Italy and no research funds came from UCLA. Therefore, it was not legally necessary for him to disclose anything.


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