On September 9th, we posted the article called “We Don’t Recommend You Drink the Water …” that revealed the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s concerns that Evolv Health’s use of their name would imply an endorsement.
At that time, they issued a statement to clarify their position:
M. D. Anderson does not have any involvement with the company, the product is not produced by M. D. Anderson, and M. D. Anderson does not endorse the product or recommend its use.
Evidently Evolv did not take the hint and now, the University of Texas’ MD Anderson has filed suit in Federal court. According to the article published by The Courthouse News Service on November 19th titled “‘Evolv’ Water Is Snake Oil, Cancer Center Says,” …
The University of Texas wants an injunction, costs, and damages for trademark violations. It is represented by John Rawls with Bracewell and Giuliani.
A much more complete discussion of the lawsuit, issues and the testing that Evolv claims supports their product, was published at ScienceBlogs.com titled “The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center takes legal action against Evolv water.” Here are a few of the pertinent excerpts:
In September we posted “M.D. Anderson name misused in Evolv nutraceutical water advertising,” detailing the not-exactly-truthful claim by a multilevel marketing company that their bottled water product was “tested” by one of North America’s premier teaching and research hospitals. …..
However, there’s a much more serious issue going on in this case: according to the official complaint filed against the companies by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System (PDF here from Courthouse News) M.D. Anderson and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center are registered US trademarks. …..
According to item 25 in the complaint, a more official and stern request to the manufacturers followed on 4 November and “demanded that the defendants cease using the M.D Anderson Marks.” Defendants, however, refused to comply with UT’s demands.”
Incidentally, the complaint notes in item 24 that the defendants attempted to obtain from the University of Texas an exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free license to use the M.D. Anderson Marks in relation to the Evolv water beverage” after the initial objections of the cancer center
(Not listed in the complaint was what I suspect was M.D. Anderson’s likely response: “What, are you people high or something?”)
Far as the UT Board of Regents is concerned, Evolv’s doing nothing more than using M.D. Anderson’s name and rep to build a “pyramid,” which is why it’s taking Evolv to court for trademark violation and trademark dilution and damages.
So what did investigators at M.D. Anderson actually test for anyway?
But there is one interesting sidenote to this case: some of the in vitro testing results of the HealtH2O water are posted on the “Archaea Active” website. The complete report with names and dates isn’t posted and there is no assurance that what is there is verified by whoever conducted the studies. But here’s my interpretation of the available information. (I’ve retained a screenshot in case it disappears)
The water was apparently tested against A549 small cell lung carcinoma and RBL1 rat basophilic leukemia cells for suppression of arachadonic acid-stimulated release of pro-inflammatory lipids such as prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene B4.
At first glance of the data presented, it might appear that the water does actually have an effect on suppressing bioactive lipid production at so-called 1X, 0.5X, and 0.25X water concentrations (no standard deviations or indication of replicates, though). But what this appears to mean is that the cells were removed from culture conditions and exposed to straight water and then 50% and 25% water in culture medium. These no-salt or low-salt conditions would obviously kill the cells by hypotonic lysis during what appears to be a 2 hr incubation period; there do not appear to be corresponding controls to correct for this activity.
What a mess.
The rest of the data on endogenous release of PGE2 and leukotrienes are a bigger mess, with the water appearing to even increase production at some concentrations, and no apparent concentration-response trend.
Again, the full report has not been released by M.D. Anderson and there’s no assurance that what is on the Archaea Active website is authentic. However, it might look like official gobbledygook to a non-scientific reader that demonstrates some activity of the water when, in fact, these appear to be uncontrolled and uninterpretable experiments.
Well, you can draw your own conclusions about the value of Evolv water. I am sure not smart enough to know what the heck those tests even measured.
Trey White’s (founder and chairman of the board of Evolv) comments are worth reading on the matter can be read at the Evolve Health blog site for a balanced perspective.
My beef? The multilevel marketing industry has earned such a bad reputation over the years for exaggerating almost everything. The only way that will change is if we, in the industry, stop it!
White says this in his comments in the blog post:
We launched our product and have made it clear that neither testing facility endorses our product.
In this case with Evolv, I happened to be on an early conference call in which one of the top leaders made a big deal out the M.D. Anderson “endorsement” of the Evolv water. Trey White was also on the call. I was impressed at that point. In fact, that “endorsement” seemed to me to be the biggest thing that Evolv had going for them. It made me more interested in reading more of the science and possibly buying the product for my own use.
See how exaggerations, even misstatements can come back to haunt us?
Folks, if the truth isn’t good enough to build your business or sell your product, please find an MLM opportunity where it is. They do exist.
Also, see our overview at Evolv Health MLM: Facts, News, and Reviews