SEPARATE STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MARY L. AZCUENAGA
CONCURRING IN PART AND DISSENTING IN PART
in Schering-Plough Healthcare, Docket No. C-3741
Today, the Commission issues a final decision and order resolving allegations about certain claims in the advertising of Coppertone Kids 6-Hour Waterproof Sunblock. I concur except with respect to Part IV of the order, which requires the respondent to develop and disseminate a consumer education brochure addressing the dangers of unprotected exposure to the sun. Consumer education brochures are an integral part of the Commission's consumer protection program, but they are not necessarily defensible adjuncts to Commission orders.
A fencing-in provision will be sustained by the courts as long as it is "reasonably related" to the violation found.(1) Fencing-in relief properly may include requirements beyond simply prohibiting the challenged conduct that are designed to "close all roads to the prohibited goal, so that [the Commission's] order may not be by-passed with impunity."(2) The allegedly deceptive claim is that the respondent's sunblock for children would remain effective for six hours even if the children engaged in "sustained vigorous activities in and out of the water," such as playing in sand, taking off and putting on clothes and toweling off after swimming. Complaint ¶ 5. The order expressly enjoins the respondents from making the challenged claim, either directly or indirectly, for the product at issue as well as for "any other children's sun protection product." Order ¶ I.
In addition, the order requires the respondent to develop and distribute 150,000 copies of a color brochure concerning the importance of sunscreen usage by children. The order requires that the brochure contain six messages or themes only one of which addresses the issue in this case, the need to reapply so-called water-proof or water-resistant sunblock after vigorous activity or after toweling off. Order ¶ IV-E.
The brochure requirement, even the message that relates most closely to the challenged claim, is not focused on preventing the respondent from making the challenged claim or otherwise from avoiding compliance with the order. The brochure would help educate consumers regarding an important health issue, and, presumably, make them less likely to be misled by the kind of implied claims challenged in this action.(3) There is no reason to think that it would enhance the deterrent effect of the order on Schering.
Presumably, the brochure requirement will not be unduly burdensome or costly for Schering because it will promote the use of its product, and the brochure is undoubtedly commendable as a public health initiative. Nevertheless, under the circumstances, it is an overly broad requirement as measured against the current standard for ordering relief.(4) There is a value to the Commission in maintaining the integrity of the standard for imposing a fencing-in remedy.
I respectfully dissent from Part IV of the order.
1. FTC v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 380 U.S. 374, 394-95 (1965); FTC v. National Lead Co., 352 U.S. 419, 428 (1957).
2. FTC v. Ruberoid Co., 343 U.S. 470, 473 (1952).
3. The product label already contains the statement, "Reapply after toweling."
4. It would be even more difficult to justify Part IV of the order as corrective advertising, because it is unlikely that the implied claim challenged in the complaint would linger in the minds of consumers long after it ceased being made. See Warner-Lambert Co. v. FTC, 562 F.2d 749, 762 (D.C. Cir. 1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 950 (1978).