Scam or Legit? What to Look for in Pain Relief Productsby Karen Lee Richards Patient Advocate
Today I want to tell you a story. It's the story of a quality topical pain reliever and the reputable company that stands behind it. Sadly, it's also the story of another company that is using the same or a very similar product to deceive and take advantage of people in pain.
My story began a few years ago, when I was still on the Board of the National Fibromyalgia Association. A topical pain-relief product called "O24 Fibromyalgia" was submitted to us requesting our seal of approval. I personally received a case of individually wrapped towelette samples which were each soaked with the O24 formula.
I tried the product myself and shared it with numerous FM patients in my local support group. Most of the people who tried it were very pleased with the results. I personally found it to be effective in relieving specific areas of pain. I didn't use it for the all-over aching type of pain I have every day, but only for those spots in which I would sometimes experience more concentrated, intense pain like my left hip, low back or neck. Using the O24 Fibromyalgia always helped ease the pain significantly and often relieved it completely.
At the time, O24 Fibromyalgia was made by a company called Swiss Medica, Inc. They had medical studies to back up their claims that their product could help relieve pain. Based on those studies and our own personal trials of the product, the NFA awarded O24 its first-ever seal of approval.
The Search for More O24
Jumping ahead several years, my original supply of O24 Fibromyalgia samples was starting to run low so I began searching for where I could purchase more. I also wanted to write a review of the product and tell people where they could get it. Much to my dismay, I could not find it anywhere. I began to ration the towelettes I had left, only using them when the pain was significantly interfering with my ability to function. A year or so after that, I did finally locate some O24 Fibromyalgia online in Canada but it could not be shipped to the U.S. I was frustrated and confused. At that point I pretty much gave up my search figuring I wouldn't ever be able to get any more of the product.
Then, two weeks ago I happened to see a press release titled, "O24 Pain Management System Relieves Physical, Mental Effects of Arthritis." Since "O24" is a somewhat unusual name for a product, I thought maybe this would turn out to be the same thing with a slightly different name.
I was excited when I got to the website given in the press release and saw that the product seemed to be the same, containing the same seven essential oils as the original product. It bothered me, though, that the only way to get further into the website and find the price of the product was to fill out a form giving your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. I hesitated but finally filled out the form because I was determined to find out if this was the product I had been looking for.
Submitting the form took me to a page with a "Trial Offer" of the O24 Pain Management System. There they claimed that one spray bottle and one box of towelettes was normally $119.99 but that you could get it as a trial offer for only $19.99 - and they would throw in another free box of towelettes and give you free shipping to boot. Sounds like a good deal, right? Not so fast.
When I read the fine print at the bottom of the page, I discovered this: "Today you will be billed only $19.99 USD, with FREE SHIPPING for a one month (30 day) supply. If you keep the product, we will bill you the remaining $79.99 USD in 14 days" (bold emphasis mine). The fine print goes on to say that you will also be enrolled to automatically receive the same thing every month at a price of $79.99.
I was so shocked, I actually reread that fine print four times. Not only were they not giving you a deal on a trial offer, they were charging you approximately $100 for about $40 worth of product--and they were going to charge you an exorbitant amount every month for more product
I couldn't believe the company I had worked with through NFA would do something like that and sure enough when I found their contact information, it was a different company. This company's name is Revive BioScience and they're located in the U.K.
The Rest of the Story
At this point, I was determined to do some investigating to find out exactly what was going on. I began by doing a Google search for the original company, Swiss Medica. The first website to show up on the search results was www.O24zone.com. When I clicked on the link, I was pleased to see the product I was familiar with at a price much closer to what I remembered. The name had changed from O24 Fibromyalgia to O24 Pain Neutralizer but the formula was exactly the same as it had been.
Apparently Swiss Medica is no longer in operation. After they closed, the O24 trademark was claimed by O24 Naturals LLC, which is owned by the original inventor of the product, Richard Weise. Last week I spoke with Dave Wolsy, who was originally with Swiss Medica and is now with O24 naturals, so he is familiar with the entire history of the product.
Mr. Wolsy explained that the reason the name of the product changed from O24 Fibromyalgia to O24 Pain Neutralizer is because the FDA ruled that they could no longer use the word fibromyalgia in the product name or make any reference to it on their packaging, information or websites. The past few years the FDA has been cracking down on manufacturers of supplements and other natural products, requiring them to remove any indication that their product is meant to treat any kind of disease or medical condition. O24 Naturals complied with the FDA and has removed the word fibromyalgia from anything to do with their product.
(It's interesting to note that the Revive BioScience press release claims its products are FDA approved, however, the FDA does not approve natural products. That in itself is a red flag.)
O24 Naturals became aware of Revive BioScience and their deceptive marketing techniques late last year. It is thought that Revive BioScience may have bought up some old, expired inventory from Swiss Medica when they went out of business and began marketing it as O24 Pain Management System. It is also thought that they recently began to produce some products using synthetic ingredients.
The Reason for the Story
Why am I telling you this story? For two reasons:
I want you to know that O24 Pain Neutralizer is a good product and O24 Naturals is a reputable company. Personally, I am comfortable ordering from their website: www.O24zone.com.
I want to alert you to the fact that there is a similar product with a similar name that is being sold by a not-so-reputable company. If you order from them, you will be grossly overcharged and may have difficulty stopping the monthly charges to your credit card.
The moral of the story: Always be sure to read the fine print when ordering any product online--even if it's a product you're familiar with.
About O24 Pain Neutralizer:
Finally, I'd like to tell you a little bit about this product I've been talking about. O24 Pain Neutralizer is a combination of seven pharmaceutical-grade essential oils: lemon, eucalyptus, orange, aloe vera, camphor, peppermint and rosemary. There are no binding agents, carriers, or preservatives, which may cause irritation and rashes--only pure essential oils.
According to the manufacturers, "The combination of the cooling and heating effects in the O24â„¢ essential oils can temporarily neutralize the pain. This impact on the affected body part is what reportedly reduces the inflammation and relieves the sensation of pain." They also say that O24 generally provides up to six hours of relief and most people begin to experience relief within 10 to 15 minutes of application.
As I mentioned before, O24 has been effective for me. I've rarely ever had to apply it a second time the same day. I will tell you that it does have a fairly strong menthol smell but in my experience, the the odor fades in a relatively short amount of time.
I can't promise O24 will be as effective for you as it is for me because, as you well know, everyone responds differently to different products. But if you're looking for a topical pain-relief product, it's worth trying a trial pack to see if it helps you.