Announced Actions for May 27, 1998

For Your Information

Commission action regarding petitions to reopen and modify FTC orders: Following a public comment period, the FTC has ruled on a petition from the following:

The Commission has granted a petition from Rite Aid Corporation requesting that the FTC reopen and modify a 1994 consent order to eliminate the requirement to divest a retail pharmacy in Bucksport, Maine, that the company acquired when it bought the LaVerdiere’s chain of drug stores. In February 1998, Rite Aid agreed to pay a $900,000 civil penalty for failing to comply with the terms of the 1994 consent order, which required the company to divest the Bucksport asset and two other pharmacies. A trustee appointed by the FTC was able to divest two properties in January 1997 but, as the company’s petition explained, neither the company nor the trustee has been able to divest the Bucksport store. The Commission vote to grant the petition was 5-0. (See news releases dated February 25, 1998; March 13, 1988; Docket No. C-3546. Staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526.)

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.

  • Under the terms of a consent order with the FTC, Eye Research Associates, Inc. (d/b/a Eye Care Associates) and its owner, Sami G. El Hage, O.D., will be prohibited from claiming that Controlled Kerato-Reformation (CKR) or any similar procedure corrects nearsightedness and astigmatism. In addition, the final order requires El Hage to have "competent and reliable scientific evidence" before making any health benefit claims that CKR or a similar procedure can, for example, stabilize vision after a few weeks or months of treatment, prevent or reverse nearsightedness in children, and enable pilots and other career professionals to meet occupational vision requirements. The order also requires that El Hage notify eye care providers who attended one of his seminars, inform them of the settlement and request that any materials that violate the settlement not be used. The Commission vote to make the order final was 5-0. (See news release dated February 19, 1998; Docket No. C-3807. Staff contact: Judith A. Shepherd, 214- 979-9383.)
  • LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc., formerly known as Lawyers Title Corporation (LTC), agreed to divest title plants in 11 localities in three states, and in the District of Columbia, under the terms of a final consent order with the FTC. The order settles charges that LTC’s acquisition of the title insurance operations of Reliance Group Holdings, Inc., including Reliance Group’s indirect subsidiaries Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Transnation Title Insurance Company, would reduce competition in local markets for title plant services. In addition, the order requires LTC to maintain the viability and marketability of the title plants until the divestitures are completed. The Commission vote to approve the order as final was 5-0. (See news release dated February 24, 1998; Docket No. C-3808. Staff contact is Patrick J. Roach, 202-326-2793.)
  • Under the terms of a final consent order, Roche Holdings Ltd. has divested Corange Limited’s U.S. and Canadian Retavase businesses to Centecor Inc.; and will divest, to a Commission approved buyer, Corange’s worldwide drug abuse testing reagent business, which uses Cloned Enzyme Donor Immuno-Assay (CEDIA) reagents, and grant a non-exclusive license to all other CEDIA reagents. The divestitures are required as part of the order to settle FTC charges that Roche’s acquisition of Corange would eliminate competition between the two leading suppliers of drugs used to dissolve blood clots at the onset of a heart attack, and of reagents used to test for drug abuse in the workplace. The Commission vote to issue the final order was 5-0. (See news release dated February 25, 1998; Docket No. C-3809; Staff contact is Christina R. Perez, 202-326-2048.)

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 Consumer Response Center, 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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