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Commission approval of amended complaint: The Commission has approved an amended complaint in the matter currently pending against No. 1025798 Ontario, Inc. d/b/a The Fulfillment Solutions Advantage, Inc., The FSA Group, International Access, Beauty Visions Worldwide, Slimshop, Hydro-Gel Slim Patch, and Slenderstrip, and its principals Robert Van Velzen and Nancy Sprague. The FTC's original complaint, which was announced in December 2003, charged these defendants with making several false and unsubstantiated weight-loss advertising claims for two seaweed-based transdermal patches called "Hydro-Gel Slim Patch" and "Slenderstrip." On December 3, 2003, the Commission obtained an ex-parte temporary restraining order from the U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York.

Pending court approval, through the amended complaint the Commission is dismissing Nancy Sprague as a defendant and adding five new defendants: Kingstown Associates Ltd. and BVW Associates, Inc., d/b/a Beauty Visions Worldwide and Slimshop, and their principals Gary Richard Bush, David James Varley, and Laurence Anthony White. The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the amended complaint was 5-0. (FTC File No. X040017; the staff contacts are Richard Cleland and Dean Forbes, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3088 and 202-326-2831; see press release dated December 9, 2003.)

Issuance of public statement announcing Commission study: The Commission has approved the issuance of a public notice announcing how it will conduct the Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) Conflict of Interest Study required by Section 110 of the Medicare Prescription Drug and Improvement Act. The Act requires the Commission to conduct such a study to examine whether the cost to group health plans of using mail-order pharmacies integrated with PBMs is more than the cost of using non-integrated mail-order pharmacies or over-the-counter retail pharmacies. To complete the study in a timely manner, the FTC has authorized the staff to use compulsory process to collect information and data from industry members. The Commission vote authorizing the staff to use compulsory process to collect the relevant information and to issue the public notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. P042111; the staff contact is Michael S. Wroblewski, Office of General Counsel; 202-326-2155.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at 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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