ARE CONSUMERS BEING DECEIVED INTO BUYING A SUGAR PILL TO CURE
A WIDE RANGE OF DISEASES? JIM AVILA WITH A HIDDEN CAMERA
INVESTIGATION, ON ABC NEWS' "20/20," FRIDAY, JUNE 1
Plus: Parents Charged with Kidnapping Their Daughter So She Wouldn't Marry
Her Fianc�, and John Stossel on the High Gas Prices
Imagine being told you have life threatening cancer. Your doctor wants you to receive traditional therapy, but you've heard stories of a magic pill that could help treat the cancer. Whom do you trust? Angie Rhoads, a 22-year-old college student from Kansas City, MO who was diagnosed with cancer of the brain, opted to take megadoses of a food supplement, Ambrotose -- a pill made out of sugars found in larch bark and aloe vera -- instead of radiation and chemotherapy after doctors removed most but not all of a tumor from her brain. Ambrotose sells so well that Forbes magazine named Mannatech, the company that makes it, one of the fastest growing companies of 2006. But critics have charged that some of the sales associates are selling Ambrotose, which is not FDA approved to cure any disease, as a virtual miracle pill. ABC News Senior Law and Justice Correspondent Jim Avila leads a three-month "20/20" undercover investigation, including attending Mannatech sales meetings around the country, to see first-hand if the sales associates are falsely selling their product. Avila also confronts Mannatech's founder and CEO, Sam Caster, to find out what the sugar pill really does. The report airs on "20/20," FRIDAY, JUNE 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Caster concedes that the product does not cure or treat any disease, but says that it can be part of the overall health equation. He said that sales associates, who are all independent contractors -- not employees -- are not supposed to make any specific health claims, and says the company tries to stop them from doing so. Critics say false claims helped earn the company $415 million in the last 12 months. Last year the Texas Attorney General launched an investigation of the company, which is still pending, and a class action lawsuit has been filed by shareholders who claim that the company encouraged its sales associates to say Ambrotose cures a wide range of diseases from AIDS to MS. The company has denied these charges and filed a motion to dismiss.
Plus: Is it possible that parents can go too far in trying to protect their children from marrying someone they believe to be the wrong person? Deborah Roberts reports on an unusual case in Utah that pits a daughter against her mother and father. Julianna Redd says her parents � staunchly opposed to her wedding to Perry Myers � kidnapped her the day before her nuptials. She tells "20/20" that her parents drove her hundreds of miles away to Colorado to keep her from marrying Myers. Was it a case of kidnapping or, as her parents say, intervention, simply a way to talk to their daughter in the hope that she would reconsider marrying a man they had come to mistrust? They did bring Julianna back and she did marry Myers in a small ceremony, without their blessing. But that was hardly the end of the family ordeal: Prosecutors decided to charge the Redds with kidnapping their own daughter, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. They have pled not guilty.
And: Coverage of record-high gas prices makes John Stossel say "Give Me a Break."
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.