The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions
Commission action regarding applications for approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has ruled on an application for approval of a transaction from the following:
- The FTC has granted the application of Hoechst Marion Roussell, Inc., of Kansas City, Missouri, to divest generic, in-development assets of its majority-owned Copley Pharmaceutical, Inc. relating to rifampin, a drug for treating tuberculosis, to VersaPharm Incorporated, of Marietta, Georgia. Rifampin was one of three drugs whose assets Hoechst was required to divest under a December 1995 FTC consent order designed to restore competition in these drug markets following Hoechst Corporation’s acquisition of Marion Merrell Dow. The Commission approved the divestiture of assets relating to one other drug, beraprost, to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in January 1997, and one other application, to divest Copley’s mesalamine assets to Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., remains pending. (See Sept. 18, 1995 news release regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3629; Commission vote to approve the divestiture was 5-0.) Staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526.
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period on each, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent orders binding on the respondents.
- The consent orders with The Administrative Company and corporate officer Michael P. McIntyre, of Dallas, Texas, and with Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., of Ada, Okla homa, settle charges that they made numerous false statements about the benefits and appropriateness of living trusts in general and, in particular, about the more than 3,000 living trusts they sold in conjunction with memberships in the American Association for Senior Citizens. The orders bar the respondents from claiming that creating a living trust avoids all probate and administrative costs, allows assets to be distributed immediately upon death, protects against catastrophic medical costs, and is the appropriate estate planning device for every consumer. The order also requires the respondents to clearly and conspicuously disclose to consumers to whom they market living trusts the facts that such trusts may be legally challenged on similar grounds as wills, and that living trusts may not be appropriate in all instances and all estate planning options should be examined before determining the best one to fit a particular individual’s needs. In addition, they must disclose, if true, the availability under relevant state laws of informal probate that allows minimal or no contact with the courts and reduces the time required to probate a will, that the transfer of an individual’s assets into a living trust is not included in the price of creating the trust, that it is the sole responsibility of the purchaser to trans fer assets into the trust, and that creditors may have a longer period of time to file a claim against a living trust than against a probated estate. The Administrative Company and McIntyre also are barred from making false, misleading or unsubstantiated statements about any legal instrument or service they offer, and Pre-Paid must monitor clients who sell living trusts and for whom it provides pre-paid legal services to ensure that the clients are complying with the FTC settlement. Pre-Paid also must offer a $165 refund to every purchaser of an AASC trust who hasn’t already received a refund and who doesn’t live in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin (consumers in these states have been offered partial refunds in connection with an earlier multi-state settlement with Pre-Paid). (See Jan. 16, 1997 news release for more details about this case; Docket Nos. C-3729 [Pre-Paid] and C-3731 [The Administrative Company and McIntyre]; Commission votes on April 4 and April 14 to issue these orders as final and binding were 5-0.) Staff contact is Janice Charter or Elizabeth Palmquist, FTC Denver Regional Office, 303-844-2272.
Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.