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Federal Trade Commission.
Proposed Consent Agreement.
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint that accompanies the consent agreement and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.
Comments must be received on or before May 15, 2003.Start Printed Page 19832
Comments filed in paper form should be directed to: FTC/Office of the Secretary, Room 159-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Comments filed in electronic form should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org, as prescribed below.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jonathan Cowen or Jock Chung, FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, (202) 326-2533 or 326-2984.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and Section 2.34 of the Commission's Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for April 15, 2003), on the World Wide Web, at “http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/04/index.htm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room 130-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-2222.
Public comments are invited, and may be filed with the Commission in either paper or electronic form. Comments filed in paper form should be directed to: FTC/Office of the Secretary, Room 159-H, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. If a comment contains nonpublic information, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “confidential.” Comments that do not contain any nonpublic information may instead be filed in electronic form (in ASCII format, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word) as part of or as an attachment to email messages directed to the following email box: email@example.com. Such comments will be considered by the Commission and will be available for inspection and copying at its principal office in accordance with Section 4.9(b)(6)(ii) of the Commission's Rules of Practice, 16 CFR 4.9(b)(6)(ii)).
Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted an agreement, subject to final approval, to a proposed consent order from Snore Formula, Inc., its officers Dennis H. Harris, M.D., and Ronald General, and Gerald L. “Jerry” Harris, also doing business as KJ Enterprises (“proposed respondents”). Proposed respondents market “Dr. Harris' Original Snore Formula” tablets, which are advertised to be taken by persons who snore.
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for reception of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement and take other appropriate action or make final the agreement's proposed order.
The Commission's complaint charges that proposed respondents failed to have a reasonable basis for claims they made about Dr. Harris' Original Snore Formula tablets' efficacy in (1) preventing sleep apnea in adult and child users of the product who would otherwise develop sleep apnea, (2) treating the “early stages” of sleep apnea, and (3) eliminating, preventing, or significantly reducing snoring. Proposed respondents are also charged with failing to disclose or failing to disclose adequately that persons who have symptoms of sleep apnea should consult a physician because sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition. Proposed respondents are further charged with making false claims that scientific testing establishes that the product can eliminate, prevent, or significantly reduce snoring in 86% of users. The complaint also alleges that Snore Formula, Inc., and its named officers provided the means and instrumentalities to others to disseminate false or deceptive claims about the product. Finally, the complaint alleges that Dr. Dennis H. Harris, M.D., misrepresented, by acting as an expert endorser for the product, that he had exercised his represented expertise in snoring treatment, in the form of an examination or testing of the product at least as extensive as an expert in the field would normally conduct.
Part I of the consent order requires that proposed respondents possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate representations that Dr. Harris' Original Snore Formula tablets or any other food, drug, device, service, or dietary supplement prevents sleep apnea in adult or child users who would otherwise develop sleep apnea; treats sleep apnea; or eliminates, prevents, or reduces snoring. It further requires that Dennis H. Harris, M.D., posses and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence and an actual exercise of his represented expertise to substantiate representations he makes as an expert endorser.
Part II of the order requires that, for any product or service that has not been shown to be effective in the treatment of sleep apnea, proposed respondents must affirmatively disclose, whenever they represent that a product is effective in eliminating, preventing, or reducing snoring, a warning statement about sleep apnea and the need for consultation with a physician or a specialist in sleep medicine.
Part III of the order requires scientific substantiation for any future claim about the effect of any food, drug, device, service, or dietary supplement on any disease, or about the effect of any food, drug, device, service, or dietary supplement on the structure or function of the human body, or about any other health benefit, or the safety, of any covered product or service. It further requires that Dennis H. Harris, M.D., posses and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence and an actual exercise of his represented expertise to substantiate representations he makes as an expert endorser.
Part IV prohibits Snore Formula, Inc., and its named officers from providing to any person or entity “means and instrumentalities” that contain any claim about the benefits, performance, efficacy, or safety of any food, drug, device, service, or dietary supplement, unless such claim is true and substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence. “Means and instrumentalities” is defined as any information, including but not necessarily limited to any advertising, labeling, or promotional materials, for use by distributors in their marketing or sale of Dr. Harris' Original Snore Formula or any other food, drug, device, service, or dietary supplement covered under the order.
Part V prohibits false claims about scientific support for any product or service.
Part VI requires Snore Formula, Inc., and its named officers to disseminate a notice (“Attachment A”) about the order to distributors who have purchased Dr. Harris' Original Snore Formula tablets from respondents or from one of respondents' other distributors on or after January 1, 2001. This notice Start Printed Page 19833indicates that Snore Formula, Inc., has agreed to cease making challenged representations, and warns distributors that they may be terminated if they do not conform their representations to the requirements placed on Snore Formula, Inc. Part VII of the order requires dissemination of Attachment A to future distributors, and that Snore Formula, Inc., monitor their distributors, and terminate sales to distributors who make representations prohibited by the order.
The remainder of the proposed order contains standard requirements that proposed respondents maintain advertising and any materials relied upon as substantiation for any representation covered by substantiation requirements of the order; distribute copies of the order to certain company officials and employees; notify the Commission of any change in the corporation that may affect compliance under the order; notify the Commission of any change in employment by the individual proposed respondents, and file one or more reports detailing their compliance with the order. Part XIV of the proposed order is a provision whereby the order, absent certain circumstances, terminates twenty years from the date of issuance.
This proposed order, if issued in final form, will resolve the claims alleged in the complaint against the named respondents. It is not the Commission's intent that acceptance of this consent agreement and issuance of a final decision and order will release any claims against any unnamed persons or entities associated with the conduct described in the complaint.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order, and is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms.Start Signature
By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark
[FR Doc. 03-9854 Filed 4-21-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-S