The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following actions.
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 order with Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., of Memphis, Tennessee, settles charges over ads allegedly claiming that one application of Coppertone Kids 6-Hour Waterproof Sunblock provides six hours of protection from the sun for children engaged in sustained vigorous activity in and out of the water. The FTC alleged that Schering-Plough lacked adequate substantiation for that claim because it did not test the product under those conditions. The order prohibits Schering-Plough from making certain claims about the effectiveness or length of protection provided by any children's sun protection product without having scientific substantiation for the claims, and from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results or conclusions of any test or study concerning sun protection products. The order also requires Schering-Plough to produce and distribute 150,000 consumer education brochures to alert parents to the importance of sunscreen protection for children, and the need to reapply sunscreens after toweling or sustained vigorous activity. (See Feb. 18, 1997 news release for more details regarding this case; Docket No. C-3741; Commission vote on May 16 to issue this order as final was 5-0, with Commissioners Mary L. Azcuenaga and Roscoe B. Starek, III, issuing separate statements.
Azcuenaga said she concurred except as to the consumer education program requirement. "Consumer education brochures are an integral part of the Commission's consumer protection program, but they are not necessarily defensible adjuncts to Commission order," she said, adding the she found the requirement "overly broad . . . as measured against the current standard for ordering relief," She concluded: "There is a value to the Commission in maintaining the integrity of the standard for imposing a fencing-in remedy."
Commissioner Starek dissented as to the consumer education requirement as well, stating that he found it "overbroad" and noting that only one of the six themes that must be included the brochure "seems likely to assist in the prevention of future deception like or related to that alleged in the complaint." He also stated that "if this relief were sought in litigation, rather than obtained through a consent agreement, it would not withstand scrutiny under the First Amendment." He believes that "when a remedy implicates First Amendment rights, the Commission should be particularly reluctant to obtain through negotiation relief that it lacks at least a colorable chance to obtain in litigation.")
Staff contact is Mamie Kresses, 202-326-2070.
- The consent order with Tenet Healthcare Corporation, of Santa Barbara, California, settles charges that Tenet's acquisition of OrNda Healthcorp, of Nashville, Tennessee,
would reduce competition for inpatient hospital care in San Luis Obispo County, California, in violation of federal antitrust laws. The order requires Tenet to divest OrNda's French Hospital Medical Center and related assets and facilities, as well as OrNda's interest in Monarch Health Systems, an integrated health delivery system operating in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, by Aug. 1, 1997. Tenet also must maintain the marketability and viability of French Hospital, as well as Valley Community Hospital in Santa Maria, pending divestiture of French (if the divestiture is not completed on time, the Commission can appoint a trustee to divest both French and Valley). In addition, the order requires Tenet to give the FTC notice before combining its acute care hospitals in San Luis Obispo County with any other acute care hospital in the area and before acquiring any Monarch stock. (Tenet's application for FTC approval to divest French Hospital to Vista Hospital Systems, Inc. is pending before the Commission; See April 29, 1997 advisory and Jan. 29, 1997 news release for more details; Docket No. C-3743; Commission vote on May 20 to issue the order as final was 5-0.) Staff contact is Robert Leibenluft, 202-326-3688.
Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's web site at http://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.