August 30, 2011

State suing Fort Worth 'naturopathic doctor'

The attorney general accuses her of claiming to remedy illnesses with dietary supplements.

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FORT WORTH -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sued a Fort Worth "naturopathic doctor" on Tuesday, accusing her of unlawfully marketing and promoting dietary supplements she claimed would reduce, prevent or cure illnesses including breast cancer, diabetes, arthritis and depression.

"She's making these outrageous claims with these dietary supplements when they haven't even been proven," said Tom Kelley, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

The lawsuit was filed against Valerie Saxion, 49, and her company, Valerie Saxion Inc., which has an office at 3800 Sandshell Drive. Neither Saxion, who lives in Keller, nor her attorney, Gregory G. Jones of Southlake, could be reached for comment Tuesday.

The attorney general is seeking a temporary injunction to stop the company from marketing and selling the products, which are promoted by telephone, Saxion's website and a local television show, Alternative Health, according to court documents.

The Texas Department of State Health Services inspected Saxion's office on four occasions and determined that Saxion claimed that dietary supplements could treat, prevent or cure diseases, according to the lawsuit.

For example, the lawsuit says, Colloidal Silver was touted as effective against Lyme disease, herpes, Legionnaire's Disease, staphylococcus, salmonella, warts, gangrene, pseudomonas, streptococcus, Candida and other viruses and bacteria.

"It is great for BURNS and CUTS, too," according to a claim for one of the products.

Another product, Dr. Val's Oh My Back, claims to "help you live a pain-free life while improving mobility and flexibility."

The health department also determined that some products were not properly labeled, and that others had not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also found that there was no evidence of a current manufacturing license for some product manufacturers, the suit states.

In addition, the lawsuit says that the Saxion's TV broadcast and her promotional materials tout her degree from Clayton College of Natural Health. But that college is not properly accredited, the lawsuit states, so it is illegal to use its degrees in Texas, and it is "false, misleading or deceptive" for Saxion to refer to herself as a doctor in labeling or advertising.

Texas law does not recognize naturopathic doctors.

Clayton College, which was based in Alabama, closed last year, blaming the economy, but the online institution had been the target of criticism by several states, including Texas.

Based on the health department findings, the lawsuit charges that Saxion violated the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

In addition to the injunction, the state seeks civil penalties of up to $25,000 per health violation per day and up to $20,000 for each violation of the deceptive trade practices law, the lawsuit states.

Court documents listed at least 18 violations related to health safety codes and deceptive trade practices.

Online: Schools whose degrees are illegal to use in Texas:

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

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