VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
RE: NOTICE OF POTENTIAL ILLEGAL MARKETING OF PRODUCTS OR THERAPIES TO PREVENT, TREAT, OR CURE ANTHRAX, OTHER DISEASES, OR HEALTH HAZARDS: IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
DATE: MAY 1, 2003
Your website claims that a product or therapy you sell is effective in the treatment or cure of anthrax, smallpox, botulism, tularemia, ebola virus, or another disease or health hazard that may be associated with reports about threats of terrorism. We are aware of no scientific basis for such claims. It is against the law to exaggerate the benefits of products or services you are promoting, or the state of science supporting your claims. Consumer testimonials are also claims that your product will produce the advertised benefit, and must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Without this evidence, the claims are illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act and must be discontinued. Violations of the FTC Act may result in legal action in the form of a Federal District Court Injunction or Administrative Order. An order also may require that you pay money back to consumers.
In addition, if you are marketing a dietary supplement, be aware that FDA prohibits any labeling claims that a dietary supplement is intended to prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure anthrax, smallpox, or any other disease under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as amended by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. Such claims would require that the product be submitted for FDA approval as a new drug. Also, dietary supplement industry trade associations issued a November 2001 news release stating that dietary supplements should not be promoted remedies or cures for anthrax, and that no dietary supplements have been proven to treat or prevent anthrax. The joint statement of the American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition, National Nutritional Foods Association, and Utah Natural Products Alliance is attached.
We strongly recommend that you review the following FTC business education materials and take steps to ensure that promotional and marketing materials on your website comply with the FTC Act:
1. Dietary Supplements: An Advertising Guide for Industry at www.ftc.gov/opa/1998/9811/dietary.htm and www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus09.shtm (Examples provided in this guidance apply to both dietary supplements and therapeutic devices.)
2. Frequently Asked Advertising Questions: A Guide for Small Business at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus35.shtm
3. Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: The Rules of the Road at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus28.shtm
FTC investigators have preserved the pages of your online promotional materials and will be revisiting your website soon. If your website includes any express or implied claim about the benefit of any product or therapy for anthrax, smallpox, botulism, tularemia, ebola virus, or other disease that is not substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence, or is otherwise deceptive or fraudulent, you must discontinue these claims immediately.
Within 7 business days, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org of the specific actions you have taken to address the agency's concerns.