Concussion drug promoted by athletes unproven, reviews show

Sports

Quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers during the first round playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin on January 9, 2004. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Reviews show companies selling a concussion remedy promoted by former football star Brett Favre made exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of the drugs.

ESPN reported that two companies owned by Jake VanLandingham overstated claims regarding two drugs meant to help prevent or treat concussions in football players.

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre helped promote and raise funds for VanLandingham’s ventures, including mentioning it on air at Super Bowl LIV. VanLandingham’s first company, Prevacus, said it was producing a nasal spray that could prevent concussions.

Beginning in 2017, Favre and other athletes promoted the drug, though it had not gone through the FDA approval process or even been tested on humans.

Clinical trials and FDA approvals can take years before a drug is cleared to be sold.

Researchers interviewed by ESPN said there is no evidence Prevacus would do what VanLandingham claimed.

After selling Prevacus, VanLandingham then launched PresolMD, which produced a cream to purportedly prevent or treat concussions.

Unlike the nasal spray, the cream wouldn’t require FDA approval and could be brought to market more quickly. Once again, Favre and other athletes heavily promoted the treatment.

Like Pevacus, researchers said there is was no evidence the cream would work on concussion patients and it had never been tested on humans.

In May of 2020, Mississippi began investigating misuse of funds by the state’s Department of Human Services. The money was meant to go to needy families, but was instead reportedly funneled to other ventures.

Favre’s lobbying efforts on behalf of Prevacus are linked to $2.1 million of the misspent money, though Favre himself has been linked to more than $8 million in misspent funds.

Favre said he didn’t know the money was earmarked for welfare spending.

Currently, Mississippi is suing VanLandingham in an effort to recover some of the misdirected money.

Odyssey, the company that purchased Prevacus, said it had completed Phase I trials on the drug in Australia. While Odyssey said those proved the drug was safe, further trials would need to be done to determine if it is effective.

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