Dallas, TX, March 26, 2013 – All across the Metroplex, consumers can hear radio ads with testimonials that tout the ability of Men’s Edge Medical Centers to help men “get their edge back.” The ads are unclear about the clinic’s methods, but the underlying takeaway is that Men’s Edge Medical Centers is successful in treating several male-focused health problems, primarily erectile dysfunction. However, following an investigation by Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Dallas and Northeast Texas into the business’s marketplace practices, BBB is warning the public about customer complaints concerning sales practices and dissatisfaction with the treatments; unsubstantiated advertising claims; and questions about licensing.
Dallas-based Men’s Edge Medical Centers focuses its marketing efforts towards the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Recent newspaper advertisements invite men to “restore an active sex life!” and “guarantee results” or the visit is “free.” In radio ads, one testimonial says a patient’s wife who left him came back after he got treatment at the clinic while another testimonial claims the clinic helped an NFL veteran get off his blood pressure medicine.
However, a Southlake resident’s complaint to the BBB questioned the clinic’s medical and business practices. “Their advertisements prey on men who are suffering from a very serious life impacting condition,” he said. “And, most men will pay whatever is necessary in order to correct this condition. [They are] snake oil salesmen at their finest.”
In the complaint, the allusion to paying “whatever is necessary” refers to the high price the clinic charges consumers for its product, a pharmaceutical known as “Trimix.” Consumers have reported paying Men’s Edge Medical Centers, up to $2,000 for 100 doses of the medicine which patients are instructed to inject by needle directly into their penis before each sexual encounter. Some pharmacies reportedly sell 100 doses for as low as $65.
“The potential for harm from questionable marketplace practices is significantly increased when the practice of medicine is involved,” said David Beasley, Director of Trade Practice Investigations for BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas. “Consumers who buy based on high pressure or unsubstantiated claims could find that a product or treatment is not appropriate for an individual’s health conditions, or that terms and conditions are restrictive.”
Since 2011, BBB has contacted Men’s Edge Medical Centers several times regarding the business’s advertising practices and consumer complaints. Men’s Edge Medical Centers has a BBB rating of “F”, the lowest rating possible on a scale of A+ to F, due to serious and unresolved customer complaints and BBB advertising challenges.
BBB has questioned the deceptive advertising of a “regular price” for the services provided during the first visit. Customers report and the company has verified that the “regular price” is customarily discounted, so the discount price appears to be the regular price. BBB has also questioned a claim of a 99% success rate. Neither claim has been substantiated. The BBB Code of Advertising calls for a business to have substantiation in hand for advertising claims.
BBB is also concerned about the company’s business model. Specifically, BBB has questioned the practice of a licensed physician selling substantial quantities of a pharmaceutical directly to consumers rather than writing a prescription.
A Denison consumer complained, “After leaving, I thought I would look on-line and see how others had faired with the injections. I first noticed that ‘Trimix’ was NOT FDA approved for my condition. I then noticed that the cost I had been charged was hugely inflated, AND this was available at any compounding pharmacy. I had been sold a vial of ‘Trimix’ with enough for 10 injections at a cost of $350.00. The same ‘Trimix’ from a pharmacy would supply me with well over 100 injections at a cost of $65.00.”
According to the Texas Occupations Code, licensed physicians may dispense pharmaceuticals to meet the patient’s “immediate needs” for the following 72 hours. Otherwise, the business would need a pharmacy license. Men’s Edge Medical Centers is not licensed by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.
When BBB questioned Men’s Edge Medical Centers whether 100 doses could be interpreted as “immediate needs” medication, the business replied that its “Trimix” is produced by a licensed compounding pharmacy, and that Men’s Edge dispenses the medication in the same fashion that other practitioners do. BBB remains concerned about Men’s Edge Medical Centers' practice of selling long-term-use quantities of Trimix without a pharmaceutical license.
In addition, the BBB noted a pattern of complaints in which customers who were dissatisfied with the results of using "Trimix" were refused a refund. Men’s Edge provided a copy of the contract which states “Federal Regulation: all Sales and Service are Final”.
BBB asked Men’s Edge to show any federal regulation requiring a “no refund” policy. Men’s Edge noted that pharmaceuticals cannot be returned, however, the business did not show any federal regulation requiring a “no refund” policy. In fact, BBB files indicate that Men’s Edge Medical Centers has provided refunds in the past.
BBB asked Men's Edge Medical Center to modify its customer contract implying that "federal regulation" requires that the company have a "no refund" policy. The business agreed to modify the language in the contract, however, Men’s Edge has not given BBB any indication or further assurances that the “no refund” policy itself was modified to adhere to the BBB Code of Advertising.
BBB has referred information about Men’s Edge Medical Center to the Texas Medical Board.
BBB recognizes that due to the personal nature of Men’s Edge services, consumers may be reluctant to complain; however, filing a complaint with BBB could provide important information.
BBB offers these suggestions to consumers who are seeking help with male performance problems:
1. Check with your own doctor to make sure a medicine or treatment is appropriate for you.
2. Be leery of high pressure to decide right away to use a medicine or treatment. This could be a sign to look into the offer more closely.
3. Understand that prescription medicines are not returnable, and any business may have “no refund” policies. Ask about the refund policy before you buy any product.
4. Check out businesses with BBB at www.bbb.org.
To learn more about the BBB investigations program, visit http://dallas.bbb.org/investigations/.
BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas is an independent, non-profit business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair business practices and works for trust in the marketplace. BBB helps consumers find and recommend businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's Standards For Trust. BBB provides services for both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. BBB services include BBB Business Reviews on businesses, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by category, customer complaint resolution services, advertising review for truth in advertising, and tips and alerts for consumers and for businesses. The BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and is one of 113 BBBs serving the U.S. and Canada. Last year, people relied on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips, and scam alerts more than 103 million times. For more, start at www.bbb.org/