A Switzerland-based company and its United States counterpart have agreed to provide refunds to its U.S. citizens, as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Dr. Clark Research Association, a California company and Dr. Clark Behandlungszentrum GMbH, doing business as Dr. Clark Zentrum, sold a variety of dietary supplements and devices that they alleged cured advanced and terminal cancers, AIDS, and other serious diseases. The FTC alleged that the defendants made unsubstantiated health or safety claims.
In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the defendants advertised, among other things, that:
The FTC charged that the defendants did not have a reasonable basis to substantiate the claims made in the ads.
To settle the FTC’s charges, the proposed final order prohibits the defendants from making unsubstantiated health or safety claims for any food, drug, dietary supplement, or device. The order also requires the defendants to notify U.S. consumers that they are entitled to full refunds. In addition, the settlement contains various recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants’ compliance.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to file the settlement in federal district court was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, on November 18, 2004, and entered by the court on November 22, 2004.
NOTE: This stipulated final judgment and order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Stipulated final judgment and order have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the stipulated final judgment and order 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, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC Matter No. X030015)
(Civil Action No. 1:03CV0054 JRA)