Announced Action(s) for September 26,1997

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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 approved the application of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corporation, of Nashville, Tennessee, to divest its interest in the South Seminole Hospital Joint Venture (SSH Joint Venture) and in the affiliated Hospital Development Properties, Inc./Healthnet Services, Inc. Joint Venture (HDPI/HSI Joint Venture) to Orlando Regional Healthcare System, of Orlando, Florida. The SSH Joint Venture operates the South Seminole Hospital in Longwood, Florida; the HDPI/HSI Joint Venture relates to the development of a medical office building adjacent to that hospital. Divestiture of Columbia/HCA’s interest in the SSH Joint Venture was required under a 1995 consent order settling FTC charges that Columbia/HCA’s acquisition of Healthtrust, Inc. would substantially reduce hospital competition in areas of Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Utah. (See Aug. 28, 1997, Oct. 5, 1995 and June 7, 1996 news releases for more details regarding this case; Docket No. C-3619; Commission vote to approve the divestiture was 4-0.) Staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526.
  • The FTC has approved the application of Schwegmann Giant Super Markets, Inc., of New Orleans, Louisiana, to divest the “That Stanley” supermarket at 4223 Chef Menteur Highway in New Orleans to J. Edward Lamb & Co., owned by Edward and Beverly Lamb of Metairie, Louisiana. The Lambs will operate the supermarket under the “Community Supermarket” name. Divestiture of this and six other stores was required under a 1995 consent order designed to restore competition allegedly injured when Schwegmann acquired the New Orleans supermarkets formerly owned by National Holdings, Inc. from Schnuck Markets, Inc. The other six divestitures have been completed. (The Commission vote to approve the divestiture was 4-0. See March 8, 1995 news release for more details regarding the consent order; Docket No. C-3584.) FTC staff contact is Roberta Baruch, 202-326-2861.

Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent orders binding on the respondents.

  • The consent order with Abflex, U.S.A., Inc., of Carlsbad, California, and company officer Martin Van Der Hoeven, settles charges that their infomercial and other advertising for the Abflex abdominal exerciser contained unsubstantiated weight-loss and spot-reduction claims. The consent order requires them to have competent and reliable evidence for a variety of future claims regarding any exercise equipment, including claims about the pounds users can lose, the rate of weight loss, or the benefits, efficacy or performance of such a product in promoting weight loss. In addition, any testimonials used in their ads either must represent the typical experience of consumers, or be accompanied by a disclosure of the generally expected results or a statement making clear that consumers should not expect similar results. This case was brought as part of “Project Workout,” a crackdown on marketers of exercise equipment who use false or unsubstantiated weight-loss claims in promoting their products. (See June 17, 1997 news release for more details; Docket No. C-3771; Commission vote on Sept. 18 to approve the order as final was 4-0.) Staff contact is Jeffrey Klurfeld, San Francisco Regional Office, 415-356-5270.
  • The consent order with Kent & Spiegel Direct, Inc., an infomercial company based in Culver city, California, and its principals, Marsha Kent and Peter Spiegel, who also marketed the Abflex product discussed above, settles related charges and includes the same provisions. (Docket No. C-3769, Commission vote on Sept. 18 to approve the order as final was 4-0.) Staff contact is Jeffrey Klurfeld, San Francisco Regional Office, 415-356-5270.
  • The consent order with Kave Elahie, doing business as M.E.K. International and based in Simi Valley, California, settles charges that their Spanish-language adver tisements included unsubstantiated claims that NutraTrim Bio-Active Cellulite Control Cream reduces or eliminates cellulite and fat, and that NutraTrim Weight Loss Tablets (which contain chromium picolinate) will cause weight loss, reduce cholesterol, reduce body fat and cellulite, reduce appetite, and increase metabolism. The order requires the respondents to have competent and reliable scientific evidence for similar claims, as well as any other claims about the performance, benefits, efficacy or safety, of any food, drug or dietary supplement in the future. The order also prohibits them from misrepresenting the existence or results of any test or study, and requires any testimonials used in their ads either to represent the typical experience of consumers, or be accompanied by a disclo sure of the generally expected results or a statement making clear that consumers should not expect similar results. This case was brought as part of “Campana Alerta,” a U.S.- Mexico effort to prevent deceptive health-related advertisements directed at Spanish- speaking consumers. (See June 26, 1997 news release for more details; Docket No. C- 3770; Commission vote on Sept. 19 to approve the order as final was 4-0.) Staff contact is Jeffrey Klurfeld, San Francisco Regional Office, 415-356-5270.

Copies of the 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.

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