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    Better Business Bureau of Southern Alberta

    Truehope Going To Trial

    Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd., otherwise known as The Synergy Group of Canada Inc. is finally going on trial in Alberta Provincial Court (Calgary) in October 17-28, 2005.

    The Crown will be prosecuting the controversial vitamin-mental illness treatment outfit over 6 charges laid in June of 2004 following a raid on the Raymond, Alberta call centre in July of 2003.

    The Truehope story is a long and strange one which seems to have started in southern Alberta in the mid 1990's. At this time two southern Alberta layman, both who were career businessmen, and who knew each other through religious connections, came together to initiate this treatment regime, which they have always targeted to the mentally ill.

    Apparently, so the story goes, one of the layman applied a mixture of vitamins to pigs to which were behaving with ear and tail-biting syndrome. As this trial and error bit of "pseudo-science" seemed to have desired results, the 2nd layman tried a similiar "treatment" to members of his family who were undergoing reported psychiatric episodes. The degree of illness present in the family members, plus the effect of the vitamin treatment remains debateable at best.

    In 1996, The Synergy Group of Canada Inc.was incorporated (while the only director of the day was undergoing personal bankruptcy). In the next few years, the two layman tried to connect with the research community in Lethbridge and the University of Calgary. While most of the researchers quietly wanted nothing to do with this, eventually a psychologist at Children's Hospital in Calgary came on and produced very preliminary "results" of tests on a vitamin product called "EmpowerPlus". However, after numerous requests from the Clinical Trials Divisions of Health Canada, and letters of concern from regulatory agencies elsewhere, the poorly designed research was finally shut down. Regulatory agencies have consistently stated there is no scientific basis for the claims of effect on mental illness.

    In the late 1990's, the two laypeople plus now a number of family and friends began to crusade North American promoting what they still seem to believe is a treatment and cure for mental illness. Finally members of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, and some health fraud activists began to critically look at this promotion.

    After numerous letters, and requests to cease and desist from marketing by the rather ineffective Health Canada compliance organization, Truehope continued to build a profitable business. First using a call center on the east side of Lethbridge, and then a building in Raymond, Alberta, Truehope continue to go ahead unimpeded. They seemed to believe they had almost a devine right to do their thing.

    Finally, in 2003, the activists pursuing the Truehope promotion released a provactive book called "Pig Pills Inc." which suggests the whole promotion is a scam, and uses the mentally ill as a target group for lay people to make money.

    Later in May of 2003, Health Canada began to take some action, and after issuing public warnings, they raided the operation in July of 2003.

    But Truehope, almost in a crusading, completly defient manner, decided to sue Health Canada in Federal Court (a case that is still on the books, but has had little activity lately).

    After the raid on their premises, Truehope questioned the validity of the search warrants through a legal challenge. The warrants were determined to be legal.

    Charges were laid in June of 2004, and now we have today's trial date set. Yet, the sales and promotion of the controversial vitamin pills for mental illness, with no attempt at trying to get approval, continues on.

    While there clearly has been members of the mental illness community who feel they have benefitted from Empower Plus, the vast majority of professionals in the psychiatric area, and now all the mental illness support groups are staying away from Truehope (albeit quietly).

    There are many layers to this story - far too many to describe here. But look at our previous stories on this topic, and look at www.healthwatcher.net, and www.circare.net under Truehope/Synergy for more information. As well, MD magazine has a great article on this topic. Finally, www.pigpills.com is another source of information on this matter.

    Will the entire truth eventually come out about Truehope? Time will only tell, but stay right here for all the latest...

    Ron Reinhold

    Date of Story: Wednesday, December 01, 2004
    Story Posted By: Ron Reinhold
    Source: Ron Reinhold

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