UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

In the Matter of

MELINDA R. SNEED and JOHN L. SNEED, d/b/a Arthritis Pain Care Center.

FILE NO. 982 3182

AGREEMENT CONTAINING CONSENT ORDER

The Federal Trade Commission has conducted an investigation of certain acts and practices of proposed respondents, Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed, d/b/a Arthritis Pain Care Center. Proposed respondents are willing to enter into an agreement containing a consent order resolving the allegations contained in the attached draft complaint. Therefore,

IT IS HEREBY AGREED by and between Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed, d/b/a Arthritis Pain Care Center, and counsel for the Federal Trade Commission that:

1. Proposed respondents Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed are the proprietors of, and do business as, Arthritis Pain Care Center, with its principal office located at 3615-F Pioneer Parkway, Arlington, Texas 76013.

2. Proposed respondents admit all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the draft complaint.

3. Proposed respondents waive:

a. Any further procedural steps;

b. The requirement that the Commission's decision contain a statement of findings of fact and conclusions of law; and

c. All rights to seek judicial review or otherwise to challenge or contest the validity of the order entered pursuant to this agreement.

4. This agreement shall not become part of the public record of the proceeding unless and until it is accepted by the Commission. If this agreement is accepted by the Commission, it, together with the draft complaint, will be placed on the public record for a period of sixty (60) days and information about it publicly released. The Commission thereafter may either withdraw its acceptance of this agreement and so notify proposed respondents, in which event it will take such action as it may consider appropriate, or issue and serve its complaint (in such form as the circumstances may require) and decision in disposition of the proceeding.

5. This agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by proposed respondents that the law has been violated as alleged in the draft complaint, or that the facts as alleged in the draft complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true.

6. This agreement contemplates that, if it is accepted by the Commission, and if such acceptance is not subsequently withdrawn by the Commission pursuant to the provisions of Section 2.34 of the Commission's Rules, the Commission may, without further notice to proposed respondents, (1) issue its complaint corresponding in form and substance with the attached draft complaint and its decision containing the following order in disposition of the proceeding, and (2) make information about it public. When so entered, the order shall have the same force and effect, and may be altered, modified, or set aside in the same manner and within the same time, provided by statute for other orders. The order shall become final upon service. Delivery of the complaint and the decision and order to proposed respondents' address as stated in this agreement by any means specified in Section 4.4(a) of the Commission's Rules shall constitute service. Proposed respondents waive any right they may have to any other manner of service. The complaint may be used in construing the terms of the order. No agreement, understanding, representation, or interpretation not contained in the order or in the agreement may be used to vary or contradict the terms of the order.

7. Proposed respondents have read the draft complaint and consent order. Proposed respondents understand that they may be liable for civil penalties in the amount provided by law and other appropriate relief for each violation of the order after it becomes final.

ORDER

DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:

1. "Competent and reliable scientific evidence" shall mean tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.

2. "CMO" shall mean any product or substance that contains or purports to contain cetylmyristoleate (also known as cetyl myristoleate) or "CMO," any analog of cetylmyristoleate, or any formulation of cetyl alcohol and myristoleic acid, including but not limited to CMO™, purportedly useful to relieve the symptoms of, treat, mitigate, cure, prevent, relieve, heal or alleviate any disease or health condition.

3. Unless otherwise specified, "respondents" shall mean Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed, individually and doing business as Arthritis Pain Care Center, and each of their agents, representatives and employees.

4. "Clearly and prominently" shall mean as follows:

A. In an advertisement communicated through an electronic medium (such as television, video, radio, and interactive media such as the Internet and online services), the disclosure shall be presented simultaneously in both the audio and video portions of the advertisement. Provided, however, that in any advertisement presented solely through video or audio means, the disclosure may be made through the same means in which the ad is presented. The audio disclosure shall be delivered in a volume and cadence sufficient for an ordinary consumer to hear and comprehend it. The video disclosure shall be of a size and shade, and shall appear on the screen for a duration, sufficient for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend it. In addition to the foregoing, in interactive media the disclosure shall also be unavoidable and shall be presented prior to the consumer incurring any financial obligation.

B. In a print advertisement, promotional material, or instructional manual, the disclosure shall be in a type size and location sufficiently noticeable for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend it, in print that contrasts with the background against which it appears.

C. On a product label, the disclosure shall be in a type size and location sufficiently noticeable for an ordinary consumer to read and comprehend it, in print that contrasts with the background against which it appears.

The disclosure shall be in understandable language and syntax. Nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or in mitigation of the disclosure shall be used in any advertisement or on any label.

5. "Purchaser" shall mean any transferee of any product covered by this order who acquires such product from respondents for valuable consideration.

6. "Distributor" shall mean any purchaser or other transferee of any product covered by this order who acquires product from respondents, with or without valuable consideration, and who sells, or who has sold, such product to other sellers or to consumers, including but not limited to individuals, retail stores, or catalogs.

7. "Commerce" shall mean as defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 44.

I.

IT IS ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, including franchisees, licensees or distributors, in connection with the manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of CMO or any substantially similar product, in or affecting commerce, shall not represent, in any manner, expressly or by implication, that such product:

A. Is effective in the mitigation, treatment, prevention, or cure of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis;

B. Provides permanent relief from symptoms of arthritis, including pain, impaired mobility, swelling, or joint deformities;

C. Is as effective as or superior to prescription medications in the treatment of arthritis or the relief of arthritis symptoms;

D. Is completely safe or has no adverse side effects; or

E. Is effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, lupus, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, silicone breast disease, cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia, hypertension, hypotension, or cardiac arrythmia;

unless, at the time the representation is made, respondents possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation.

II.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, including franchisees, licensees or distributors, in connection with the manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of CMO products or any other food, dietary supplement or drug, as "food" and "drug" are defined in Section 15 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, or program, in or affecting commerce, shall not make any representation, in any manner, expressly or by implication, about the performance, safety, efficacy or health benefits of any such product or program, unless, at the time the representation is made, respondents possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation.

III.

Nothing in this order shall prohibit respondents from making any representation for any product that is specifically permitted in the labeling for such product by regulations promulgated by the Food and Drug Administration pursuant to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.

IV.

Nothing in this order shall prohibit respondents from making any representation for any drug that is permitted in the labeling for such drug under any tentative final or final standard promulgated by the Food and Drug Administration or under any new drug application approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

V.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, including franchisees, licensees, or distributors, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any product or program, in or affecting commerce, shall not misrepresent, in any manner, expressly or by implication, the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions or interpretations of any test, study, or research.

VI.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, including franchisees, licensees or distributors, in connection with the manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any product or program in or affecting commerce, shall not represent, in any manner, expressly or by implication, that the experience represented by any user testimonial or endorsement of the product or program represents the typical or ordinary experience of members of the public who use the product or program, unless:

A. At the time it is made, respondents possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation; or

B. Respondents disclose, clearly and prominently, and in close proximity to the endorsement or testimonial, either:

1. What the generally expected results would be for users of the product or program; or

2. The limited applicability of the endorser's experience to what consumers may generally expect to achieve, that is, that consumers should not expect to experience similar results.

For purposes of this Part, "endorsement" shall mean as defined in 16 C.F.R.  255.0(b).

VII.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any partnership, corporation, subsidiary, division, or other device, including franchisees, licensees, or distributors, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any product or program in or affecting commerce, shall disclose, clearly and prominently, and in close proximity to the endorsement, a material connection, where one exists, between a person providing an endorsement of any product or program, as "endorsement" is defined in 16 C.F.R.  255.0(b), and any respondent, or any other individual or entity manufacturing, labeling, advertising, promoting, offering for sale, selling, or distributing such product or program. For purposes of this order, "material connection" shall mean any relationship that might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement and would not reasonably be expected by consumers.

VIII.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:

A. Respondents shall not disseminate to any distributor any material containing any representations prohibited by this order.

B. Respondents shall not, directly or indirectly, authorize any distributor to make any representations prohibited by this order.

C. Within thirty (30) days after service of this order, respondents shall send by certified mail, return receipt requested, an exact copy of the notice attached hereto as Attachment A to each distributor with whom respondents have done business since January 1, 1996, to the extent that such distributor is known to respondents through a diligent search of their records, including but not limited to computer files, sales records, and inventory lists. The mailing shall not include any other documents.

D. For a period of three (3) years following service of this order, respondents shall send by certified mail, return receipt requested, an exact copy of the notice attached hereto as Attachment A to each distributor with whom respondents do business after the date of service of this order who has not previously received the notice. Such notice shall be sent within one (1) week from the first shipment of respondents' products to said distributor. The mailing shall not include any other documents.

E. Respondents shall require distributors to submit to respondents all advertising and promotional materials and claims for any products or programs covered by this order for review prior to their dissemination and publication. Respondents shall not authorize distributors to disseminate these materials and claims unless they are in compliance with this order.

Respondents may also comply with the obligations set forth above in this subpart by: (a) disseminating to distributors marketing materials that do not contain representations prohibited by this order; and (b) requiring these distributors to submit for review all advertising and promotional materials for a particular product covered by this order that contain representations that are not substantially similar to the representations for the same product contained in the advertising and promotional material(s) most recently forwarded to the distributors by respondents.

F. Respondents shall monitor distributors' advertising and promotional activities. In the event that respondents receive any information that, subsequent to receipt of Attachment A pursuant to subparts C and D of this Part, any distributor is using or disseminating any advertisement or promotional material or making any oral statement that contains any representation prohibited by this order, respondents shall immediately terminate said distributor's right to market respondents' products or programs and immediately provide, by certified mail, all relevant information, including name, address, and telephone number of the company at issue, the nature of the violation, and any relevant materials used or disseminated, to the Associate Director, Division of Enforcement, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.

IX.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed shall, for five (5) years after the last correspondence to which they pertain, maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying: copies of all notification letters sent to distributors, communications between respondents and distributors referring or relating to the requirements of Part VIII, and any other materials created pursuant to Part VIII of this order.

X.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed shall, for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by this order, maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying:

A. All advertisements and promotional materials containing the representation;

B. All materials that were relied upon in disseminating the representation; and

C. All tests, reports, studies, surveys, demonstrations, or other evidence in their possession or control that contradicts, qualifies, or calls into question the representation, or the basis relied upon for the representation, including complaints and other communications with consumers or with governmental or consumer protection organizations.

XI.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed shall deliver a copy of this order to all current and future principals and managers, and to all current and future employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order, and shall secure from each such person a signed and dated statement acknowledging receipt of the order. Respondents shall deliver this order to current personnel within thirty (30) days after the date of service of this order, and to future personnel within thirty (30) days after the person assumes such position or responsibilities.

XII.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents Melinda R. Sneed and John L. Sneed shall, within sixty (60) days after the date of service of this order, and at such other times as the Federal Trade Commission may require, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which they have complied with this order.

XIII.

This order will terminate twenty (20) years from the date of its issuance, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not affect the duration of:

A. Any Part in this order that terminates in less than twenty (20) years;

B. This order's application to any respondent that is not named as a defendant in such complaint; and

C. This order if such complaint is filed after the order has terminated pursuant to this Part.

Provided, further, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent did not violate any provision of the order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the order will terminate according to this Part as though the complaint had never been filed, except that the order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later of the deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.

Signed this day of , 19

MELINDA R. SNEED

JOHN L. SNEED

JUDITH A. SHEPHERD
Counsel for the Federal Trade Commission

APPROVED:

THOMAS B. CARTER
Director
Dallas Regional Office
JOAN Z. BERNSTEIN
Director
Bureau of Consumer Protection