Monday, September 11, 2006

Another Triumph in the Courts

I discovered an interesting bit of news today. It seems that a judge in Illinois has ruled that selling a piece of cheap jewelry -- like the Q-Ray Bracelet -- with a claim that it relieves pain is false advertising.
U.S. District Judge Morton Denlow ordered QT Inc. of Mount Prospect, Illinois, and its owner, Que Te Park, to refund more than 100,000 buyers of the bracelets -- priced up to $249.95 -- and forfeit profits of $22.6 million earned between 2000 and 2003.
That's right: even if a substantial percentage of customers claim that they actually experienced pain relief due to the placebo effect, advertising that your product actually provides some medical benefit without actual scientific evidence to support the claim is false advertising, and you can lose millions in court.

Now if people would just start suing the homeopaths and their ilk in the alternative medicine market...

2 comments:

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Actually, there seem to have been a number of similar triumphs, including the following:
"The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction against Kevin Trudeau, Robert Barefoot, Shop America LLC and Deonna Enterprises Inc.

from making allegedly false and unsubstantiated claims that Coral Calcium Supreme can treat or cure disease. FTC charges these claims—which include coral calcium can treat or cure cancer, multiple sclerosis and heart disease—go far beyond existing scientific evidence regarding the recognized health benefits of calcium. The complaint also challenges the defendants’ claim that a daily serving of Coral Calcium Supreme offers as much bioavailable calcium as two gallons of milk. In addition, FTC is asking for the company’s assets to be frozen."

and

"Companies selling a liquid supplement purported to aid with conditions as diverse as AIDS and obesity had product seized for unsubstantiated claims on product labels and literature. On June 13, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Nevada against Carlsbad, Calif.-based Seasilver USA Inc. and its subsidiary, Americaloe Inc., stating the companies were making false and unsubstantiated claims. The companies, due to the expenses involved with changing labels, “substantially curtailed operations,” according to a Seasilver press release. In an article appearing in the June 18 edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune (www.uniontrib.com), it was reported the company sent home hundreds of employees June 16. On the companies’ Web site (www.seasilver.com), employees were informed that checks for the week ending June 15 would be hand-delivered."

and

"Health Canada warned consumers against using Hua Fo VIGOR-MAX tablets, an herbal product manufactured in China and containing tadalafil, a prescription drug approved for erectile dysfunction. The agency had also issued warnings in 2002 concerning different lots of the Hua Fo product that, in the past, was found to contain sildenafil, another prescription medication used for erectile dysfunction. Health Canada is again requiring the importer to remove Hua Fo VIGOR-MAX from the market and has issued a Customs Alert to stop importation of the product, which is sold in Canada by Shenlong Natural International Inc."

Interestingly enough, all of the above came from a site run by what seems to be an industry magazine for the 'health foods' industry, HEALTH SUPPLEMENT RETAILER, which appraently has a regular section devoted to government action against this sort of quackery -- despite the general quackery of health foods in general.

These were all from
http://www.naturalproductsmarketplace.com/articles/381govwa.html

CFeagans said...

I'm glad to see these small victories as courts reign in fraudsters. There was a similar case in Dallas/Irving, TX with a bogus gas tank supplement that turned out to be moth balls, which was supposed to improve gas mileage.

What these rulings do is create precedent that can be built upon for future cases that go before courts. It also puts the bogus claims in the public eye, if only locally.

Perhaps it may become the responsibility of us bloggers to transform that local news into global news as we educate the public. I can't count the number of hits on "Kevin Trudeau" my blog gets from those looking for information about his products.