Announced Actions for September 24, 2004

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Commission filing of comments with the U.S. Department of Energy: The Commission filed comments with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) concerning the designation of National Interest Electric Transmission Bottlenecks (NIETBs). The comments, which can be found on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release and were filed on September 20, 2004, address recommendations made by the DOE’s Electricity Advisory Board (EAB) in its 2002 “Transmission Grid Solutions Report,” that the DOE initiate a process to identify NIETBs to improve the physical state of the United States’ transmission infrastructure.

According to the FTC comments, before designating a particular area of transmission congestion as an NIETB, DOE may wish to require that: 1) there is compelling evidence that the benefits of alleviating the congestion exceed the costs, and 2) the market is unlikely to provide an efficient level of investment in a reasonable timeframe. DOE also may wish to include sensitivity analysis and contingent designations in its NIETB process, the comments conclude, because NIEB designations are likely to change with changes in underlying market conditions, such as relative fuel prices or U.S. energy policies.

In concluding its comments, the Commission states, “DOE’s NIETB designation efforts are most likely to benefit consumers in areas where: 1) investors do not already have data to identify attractive investments to relieve transmission congestion and 2) no mechanisms are present to alleviate congestion in instances where private incentives are unlikely to result in an efficient level of investment.” The Commission vote authorizing the filing of the comments was 5-0. (FTC File No. V040028; the staff contact is Michael S. Wroblewski, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2155.)

Commission approval of amicus brief filing: The Commission has approved the filing of an amicus brief jointly with the U.S. Department of Justice in the matter concerning Empagran, S.A. v. Hoffmann-LaRoche, Ltd., No. 01-7115 (D.C. Cir.). This brief has been filed in response to an order issued by the D.C. Circuit, which calls for supplemental briefing regarding what action that court should take now that the case has been remanded to it by the Supreme Court. The Commission vote approving the filing of the amicus brief was 4-0-1, with Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras recused. (FTC File No. P042106; the staff contact is Lawrence DeMille-Wagman, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2448; see related press releases issued March 25, 2003 and February 6, 2004.)

Court-entered default judgment: On September 8, 2004, the court entered a default judgment in United States v. Kris A. Pletschke, d/b/a Raw Health, a case involving allegations that the defendant made deceptive health claims for two supplements, failed to file an adequate compliance report, failed to report other information to the FTC as required, and failed to make available records sought by FTC staff in violation of an FTC administrative order issued in 2002. The default judgment imposes a civil penalty of $101,000, enjoins the defendant from violating the 2002 FTC order, and includes other injunctive relief, including provisions requiring any party hosting Web pages or Web sites for the defendant to ensure that his Web site, www.rawhealth.net, cannot be accessed by the public. It also requires the domain name registrar that registered www.rawhealth.net to immediately suspend the Web site’s registration. (FTC Docket No. C-4040, Civil Action No. 1:03CV214-T; the staff contact is Robert Frisby, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2098; see press release dated September 2, 2003.)

Commission approval of final consent orders: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order in the matter concerning Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis. (FTC File No. 041-0031, Docket No. C-4112; the staff contact is Paul Frontczak, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3002; see press release dated July 28, 2004.)

Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order in the matter concerning Cephalon, Inc. and Cima Labs, Inc. (FTC File No. 041-0025; the staff contact is Elizabeth A. Jex, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3273; see press release dated August 9, 2004.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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