CSCT, Inc., John Armstrong, and Michael Reynolds, defendants in a bogus cancer cure lawsuit, are banned from marketing and selling their cancer treatment as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The British Columbia-based defendants claimed that their treatment, known as “Cell Specific Cancer Therapy” or “Zoetron Therapy,” could kill cancerous cells with the use of an electromagnetic device that selectively heats and kills cancerous cells, without harming surrounding normal cells. The FTC alleged that the defendants’ cancer killing claims are false. In addition to the ban, the settlement prohibits the defendants from making false claims in connection with the marketing and sale of any service, program, food, drug, or device.
According to the FTC, the defendants touted their cancer-killing claims primarily on their Internet Web site and charged consumers as much as $15,000 to $20,000 each to receive the treatment. Consumers had to pay the cost up-front by wire transferring the money to the defendants in Canada. Consumers then had to travel at their own expense to Tijuana, Mexico, for the alleged treatments. The treatments consisted of exposing consumers to the “Zoetron machine,” a device that purportedly uses a pulsed magnetic field to heat and kill cancer cells.
In February 2003, the FTC filed a complaint in federal district court, alleging that the Zoetron machine cannot kill cancer cells and that the claims made for the Zoetron therapy are false. At the same time that the FTC filed its complaint, Mexican authorities shut down the defendants’ clinic in Tijuana for using an unapproved treatment in violation of Mexican law.
The final order bans the defendants from engaging in the advertising, promotion, sale, or distribution of Zoetron therapy. The settlement prohibits the defendants from making false or misleading statements in connection with the marketing and sale of any cancer therapy or treatment, as well as any other service, program, food, drug, or device. In addition, the
final order prohibits the defendants from assisting others who make any of the false claims prohibited in the order.
The settlement also prohibits the defendants from making any representation concerning the health benefits, performance, safety, or efficacy of any service, program, food, drug, or device unless the defendants have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the representation. The settlement contains a suspended judgment of $7,650,000, based on the defendants’ inability to pay.
The settlement authorizes the Commission to obtain the entire judgment if the defendants materially misrepresented their financial status. In addition, the settlement prohibits the defendants from selling identifying information about any person whose information was obtained in connection with the marketing of the defendants’ cancer therapy. Finally, the settlement contains various recordkeeping requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants’ compliance.
The FTC would like to thank the Competition Bureau in Canada for its extensive cooperation in this case.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the proposed stipulated final judgment and order was 5-0. The order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in Chicago, on February 12, 2004, and signed by the judge on February 17, 2004.
NOTE: The Stipulated Final Judgment and Order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. The Stipulated Final Judgment and Order has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the proposed 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.
(FTC Matter No. X030027; Civil Action No. 03 C 00880)
Office of Public Affairs
FTCs Midwest Region - Chicago