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Knock it Off, Texas Tells Bogus Doctor

FORT WORTH (CN) - Texas wants a woman to stop calling herself a "naturopathic doctor," touting her illegal college degree, and promoting dietary supplements she claims can stop cancer on her website and a TV show called "Alternative Health."

The Texas attorney general sued Valerie Saxion and Valerie Saxon Inc. in Tarrant County Court.

Saxion sells diet supplements, skin care products and books via telephone and her website, and pushes them on her TV show.

"Saxion promotes herself as a naturopathic doctor (N.D.), but Texas does not recognize naturopaths," the complaint states.

"Additionally, on [her] website ... defendant Valerie Saxion stated that she received her doctorate in naturopathy from Clayton College. Clayton College of Natural Health is on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's list of institutions whose degrees are illegal to use in Texas. According to the list, Clayton College does not have accreditation from an accreditor recognized by the Coordinating Board. Any use of terms like 'Doctor' or 'Dr.' in connection with defendant Valerie Saxion is false, misleading, or deceptive," Texas says.

The Texas Department of Health Services has inspected Saxion's Fort Worth business four times since May 2009 and found "defendants make explicit and implicit statements claiming their dietary supplements can diagnose, mitigate, treat, cure, or prevent disease," the attorney general says.

Saxion claims her products can inhibit breast and prostate tumors "as well as colorectal, stomach and skin cancer, including melanoma," treat high blood pressure, arthritis, "crippling hip/leg pain," and give relief from bulging back discs and pinched nerves, Texas says.

There is seemingly nothing Saxion's products cannot treat: she claims they also can be used for depression, obesity, headaches, premenstrual symptoms, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, herpes, salmonella poisoning, warts, gonorrhea, gangrene, parasites, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, among many other applications, according to the complaint.

State investigators found that Saxion could not produce a current manufacturing license for each manufacturer listed on her products, and "could not produce evidence that the Federal Food and Drug Administration had been notified of structure/function statements made for dietary supplements," Texas says.

Investigators found other labeling violations on Saxion's products, including failure to include the term dietary supplement in identifying her products, labeling products as dietary supplements that do not meet the definition, making nutrient content claims on products' labels when they do not meet the requirements to make the claim and not listing the manufacturer's address on her products.

Texas says Saxion's promotion of misbranded foods and drugs not approved by the FDA violates state law. It seeks an injunction, investigative costs and penalties for violations of the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

It wants her to stop selling misbranded drugs or food and "failing to disclose that claims to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease cannot legally be made for dietary supplements."

And it wants her enjoined from using the words "Doctor" or "Doctor of Naturopathy" to describe herself, and making claims about disease-fighting dietary supplements on "websites, product labels and brochures, catalogs, television programs or advertisements, radio programs or advertisements; third party vendors; and third party websites."

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