Ben Carson is denying his involvement with a controversial supplement-maker accused of falsely claiming that its products could cure serious illnesses.
At Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate, CNBC anchor Carl Quintanilla asked Carson why he maintained a 10-year relationship with the company Mannatech, which paid $7 million to settle a civil false advertising lawsuit.
“Well, that's easy to answer,” the retired neurosurgeon responded. “I didn't have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda.”
The candidate admitted to giving “a couple” of paid speeches to the company but maintained that it was “absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them.”
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Carson has appeared in videos for the company that were on its website as recently as last month.
“If somebody put me on their home page, they did it without my permission,” Carson said Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Carson gave four paid speeches for the company, most recently in 2013.
Mannatech told the newspaper that Carson ““has never been a paid endorser or spokesman.”
According to the Journal, Carson became involved with the company after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He credited Mannatech's supplements with his recovery.
“Do I take the product? Yes. I think it's a good product,” Carson said Wednesday.
According to the Journal report, Mannatech was the subject of complaints from the Texas Attorney General’s office and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the company's claim that its supplements could cure cystic fibrosis, autism and Down syndrome.
The company settled for $7 million but maintained that the claims were made by rogue independent sales associates.