Pyramid scheme promoters claim their deer placenta pills can help stage 4 cancer

This seemed like too good a chance to pass up.

All I had to do was attend a free seminar and I’d get the chance to join a scheme making loads of money while having the satisfaction of helping others.

“When I say this will not only provide you with purpose and fulfilment but also true wealth and very quickly, I mean it,” gushed organiser Amardeep Sekhon on Facebook.

He’s a recruiter for a Singapore business called Riway International, which is said to be huge in the Far East.

This was an opportunity to get in on the ground floor in Europe, a bit like if you’d invested in Facebook when it was a start-up, as Sekhon put it.

Riway makes one product, a tablet called Purtier Placenta, which contains apparently miraculous stem cells taken from the plancenta of New Zealand deer.

Guests at the presentation at a central London hotel were treated to a Riway corporate video, which full of vacuous sound bites such as “Be the master of your perfect life”, “Exceeding medical science’s mission” and “Nitrogen-filled technology”.

I’ve been to many presentations like this and they inevitably name-check business greats, to get some undeserved reflected glory.

Sure enough, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Richard Branson all flashed up on the screen, although none have anything to do with Riway.

Where the video had been carefully vague about what the tablets could do, the presenters didn’t hold back.

Sekhon, who called himself a former psychology teacher, said: “I’ve got to meet so many peole who had devastating illnesses and it helped them.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘cure’, but they no longer had their problems”.

He introduced his mother, saying the tablets had “improved” her depression, diabetes and arthritis. Then his mother spoke and added leukemia into the mix.

“Every single person that we give this product to had incredible results,” Sekhon claimed.

Another speaker was Jason Solis, who’d flown in from the Far East.

He told the seminar about how two men who could not conceive became fathers.

“IVF failed and someone introduced them to the product and these two babies are the product of taking Purtier Placenta,” he said.

“You hear amazing stories, I’ve met people who have recovered from cancer, people who have recovered from MS, it’s wonderful to be able to hear from people who have had chronic illnesses and recovered from them.”

He promised that Riway was en route to becoming the largest direct-selling company in the world (Penman prediction: it won’t) and there were fortunes to be made: “There are people in Singapore making $200,000 a month, that’s no exaggeration.”

He went on: “We are looking for people who’ve got vision, strategy, execution, who can get involved in this business, who can recruit others, who can spread the word and stake a claim in this business and have financial freedom.

“Many will become millionaires”.

That word “recruit” is important, because this is a pyramid scheme. You pay to join Riway, and then get commission from everyone you recruit, and in turn you get commission on their sales, and so on down the line.

“The bonus scheme that Riway has means that even someone you’ve never met who’s 25 levels beneath you, when they make a purchase, you also benefit,” Solis explained.

It’s not cheap. To join you have to buy a minimum of a six month supply of Purtier Placenta “therapy”, as it was called, costing around £2,000. This, he said, is why it is not available in the shops: no one would buy it at that price, whereas they might if it comes with a personal testimonial from someone they know.

Posing as a potential recruit, I said that if I was going to persuade anyone to spend that much I’d need copies of independent clinical studies backing up the health claims.

Jason seemed to do a u-turn, now insisting: “We are not marketing this as a medical product, this is marketed as a food supplement. The company does not make any scientific claims."

Really? What was all that stuff about cancer and diabetes then? Or the aim of “Exceeding medical science’s mission”? Who are all those people dressed like scientists in laboratories on the Riway video?

A third speaker, Rajesh Aggarwal, was introduced as a former pharmacist, and he wasn’t shy about making medical claims.

“It’s helped with conditions like cancer stage one, two, three and four,” he declared, adding his own “personal testimony” – pain caused by a slipped disc had disappeared since taking Purtier Placenta.

“If someone has cancer, I can’t say this will help your cancer, but I can say this product has helped many people in Singapore, why don’t you try it and let me know how you feel?

“I give it to my friends, I give it to my auntie in Spain, her psoriasis is getting better. I know it’s having an effect.”

Sekhon wrapped up the sales pitch with yet more claims: “I’m not going bald anymore.”

He finished: “It’s about prevention, because prevention is better than cure. If you are taking two capsules a day you are preventing a tumour from forming.

“It’s not just about money, it’s about not dying from something that could have been prevented.”

PS If you really do want to eat deer placenta you might want to look online first, where you can get bottles of the stuff for nearer £40.

PPS This is a good place to remind you of Penman’s First Law of Health Remedies: the more ailments that something claims to cure, the less likely it is to cure any of them.

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