Attorney General James Wins Trial Against Quincy Bioscience for Deceptive and Fraudulent Advertising of “Memory Improvement” Supplement Prevagen

Court Accepts Jury Finding that Quincy Violated New York’s 63(12) Statute by Making Fraudulent Statements About its Supplement Prevagen

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that a federal judge in Manhattan accepted a jury’s finding that Quincy Bioscience Holding Company, Inc., Quincy Bioscience, LLC, Prevagen, Inc., Quincy Bioscience Manufacturing, LLC (Quincy), and four corporate defendants made fraudulent and deceptive statements about the supplement Prevagen and are liable for violating New York’s consumer protection laws. Quincy advertised its supplement, Prevagen, in media markets across New York, including in Albany, Syracuse, New York City, and the Southern Tier, as a way to reduce memory problems, improve memory, and support cognitive health. After a two-week trial, the jury concluded that Quincy had not substantiated any of its claims about Prevagen with reliable scientific evidence. The jury found some of Quincy’s claims about Prevagen to be materially misleading and all of them to have the tendency to deceive and constitute fraud under New York Executive Law Section 63(12). With the court’s acceptance of the jury’s verdict, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will seek a permanent injunction to block Quincy from continuing to make deceptive statements when selling its product in New York and will seek monetary relief.

“New York laws are clear: companies and individuals cannot lie and manipulate consumers,” said Attorney General James. “Quincy took advantage of the very real fear of cognitive decline and preyed on elderly New Yorkers to make a profit. Consumers bought Prevagen with the hopes that they could improve their cognitive health. My office will always use every tool and resource at our disposal to protect New Yorkers and uphold the rule of law. I will not allow modern day ‘snake oil salespeople’ to operate in New York.”

Prevagen, which can cost up to $89.95 for a 30-day supply and purports to help improve memory, is sold online directly to consumers and at major retailers and pharmacies across the country, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Walmart, GNC, and Amazon. The OAG took action and brought a lawsuit asserting that Quincy did not have adequate scientific evidence to substantiate claims about Prevagen, including that it improves memory, improves memory within 90 days, reduces memory problems associated with aging, provides other cognitive benefits, including a healthy brain function, a sharper mind, and clearer thinking, and has been “clinically shown” to do each of these things. Quincy has been marketing Prevagen with variations of these claims on its packaging since at least 2011 and in its national television and radio ads since 2013.

Over the course of the trial, OAG along with the Federal Trade Commission, which assisted OAG in the trial and will have its claims determined separately by Judge Louis L. Stanton of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, presented evidence about Quincy’s marketing and the lack of adequate science behind its claims. The evidence presented by OAG included:

  • Testimony from experts in biostatistics and clinical trial design about the flaws in the planning, execution, and analysis of Quincy’s clinical trial for Prevagen;
  • Internal Quincy documents and submissions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitting that Prevagen is quickly digested and unlikely to reach the brain;
  • Multiple televisions advertisements, along with packaging, containing unsubstantiated and deceptive claims that Quincy used to market and sell Prevagen over the years;
  • Testimony from Quincy’s market development director about a bar graph prominently displayed by Quincy in much of its advertising that selectively and misleadingly displayed certain data from Quincy’s human clinical trial for Prevagen; and
  • Testimony from Prevagen’s principal investigator who oversaw Quincy’s clinical trial for Prevagen about the flawed planning and execution of that study.

At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found that Quincy was liable for deceptive acts and practices, false advertising, and repeated and persistent fraud about Prevagen, which derives its active ingredient from a protein that makes jellyfish glow. Following Judge Stanton’s acceptance of the jury verdict, OAG will take action to block Quincy from continuing to make deceptive claims when selling its product in New York and will seek monetary relief.

The OAG’s litigation and trial team was led by Assistant Attorney General Kate Matuschak, with a team of attorneys and legal assistants, including Assistant Attorneys General Mary Alestra, Noah Popp and the late Stephen Mindell, Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, along with Attorney General Fellow Emily Smith and Legal Assistant Christine Reynolds — all of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection. Additional assistance was provided by legal assistant Charmaine Blake of the Investor Protection Bureau. The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection is part of the Division for Economic Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Christopher D’Angelo and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.