An Internet entrepreneur who marketed bogus cancer cures claiming they made other conventional cancer treatments unnecessary has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that his claims were unsubstantiated. The settlement permanently bars the defendant from making unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits and efficacy of health-related products and services.
In March 2002, the FTC charged that David L. Walker maintained a Web site and conducted seminars and personal consultations promoting his purported cancer cure, the "CWAT -Treatment: BioResonance Therapy and Molecular Enhancer." The Web site claimed his treatments, for which he charged between $2,400 and $5,200, make surgery, chemotherapy, and other conventional cancer treatments unnecessary. The site and promotional material also contained "testimonials" from consumers who supposedly experienced miraculous cures using Walker's products. The FTC alleged the claims were unsubstantiated in violation of federal law. It also introduced testimony from a distinguished oncologist that suggested the therapies -- which included herbal and mineral mixtures with exotic names -- are potentially harmful to cancer patients. The district court issued a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction barring the claims, pending trial. The settlement announced today resolves that litigation.
The settlement permanently prohibits the defendant from making claims that any food, drug, dietary supplement, device or health-related service, treatment, plan, or program is effective in treating or curing cancer, or that it makes conventional treatments unnecessary, unless the defendant possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence. The settlement also bars unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits, performance, efficacy or safety of any health-related product or service. The settlement further prohibits the defendant from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results or conclusions of any test, study, or research. Finally, the settlement contains record-keeping provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance with the order.
The FTC filed this case in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General of Washington and with its invaluable assistance. The Attorney General's Office obtained a judgment in its companion case barring the unsubstantiated claims in Washington state and requiring the defendant to pay $229,000 in consumer restitution.
The Commission vote to accept the stipulated final judgment and order was 5-0. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma.
NOTE: A stipulated final judgment and order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. Stipulated final judgments and orders 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, 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.
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