Penalty Sought for Acne-Statin...

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Magazine ads and television infomercials claiming that the over-the- counter acne remedy, "Acne-Statin" is effective in treating severe or cystic acne and is superior to other acne treatments, are unsubstantiated, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The claims violate a 1979 order prohibiting Atida Karr from making unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness or superiority of any acne preparation she markets, according to papers filed today in federal court. The FTC has asked the court to order a halt to the deceptive ads, to freeze Karr's assets to preserve funds and to impose civil penalties on Karr, Atida Karr Enterprises, Inc. and Eton Derma Laboratories, Inc. for violating the 1979 order. Karr and her Beverly Hills, California based companies sell Acne-Statin and the Acne-Statin Kit.

The 1979 order prohibits Karr and her firms from advertising the effectiveness or superiority of any acne preparation unless the claim is supported by competent and reliable scientific or medical evidence. Karr paid $175,000 into a consumer refund account as part of the 1979 settlement of the initial case. The case filed today seeks to enforce that order.

According to the FTC, Karr appears in television infomercials making claims about the effectiveness and superiority of her product, such as: "Most of the people who wrote to me had acne for many years and couldnþt find anything to clear their skin, that is, until they discovered Acne-Statin." Product endorsers claim Acne-Statin was effective in treating their severe or cystic acne. At the time Karr and her company made the claims, they did not have competent and reliable scientific or medical evidence to support the claims, the complaint alleges.

"Patients with cystic acne or acne as severe as that depicted in the informercials who delay receiving appropriate medical treatment run a risk of serious facial scarring," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We intend to protect consumers from deceptive claims and to enforce our orders when they are violated," she said.

The FTC has asked the court for a preliminary injunction, a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze, pending trial. It will seek civil penalties and a permanent injunction to bar future violations of the original order. The FTC Act authorizes the court to award penalties as high as $10,000 for each violation of a Commission order.

The Commission vote to file the complaint was 5-0. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, by the Justice Department, at the FTCþs request.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant actually has violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.

Copies of the FTC complaint are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 202-326- 2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at:

(FTC File No. D9109)
(Civil Action No. 95-3784-RSWL {SHx})

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