According to a recent FTC press release, a company that marketed itself as “the leader in home opiate detox since 2009” and its CEO have settled Commission charges that the withdrawal treatment claims for their “Withdrawal Ease” and “Recovery Ease” products were false or unsupported by scientific evidence.
According to the complaint, defendants violated the FTC Act by making unsubstantiated claims that Withdrawal Ease: 1) significantly alleviated the symptoms of opiate withdrawal; and 2) significantly increased the likelihood of a person overcoming opiate dependency.
Defendants also allegedly misrepresented that clinical studies proved Withdrawal Ease’s effectiveness. The complaint charges defendants with deceptively representing that Recovery Ease significantly alleviated long-term opiate withdrawal symptoms.
“Opioid addiction is a scourge that has affected millions of Americans,” said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “People who struggle with this problem need real help, not phony claims and false promises like the ones peddled by these defendants.”
The order settling the charges bars defendants from making claims about opiate withdrawal, opiate dependency, or other health conditions, including through their product names, unless they possess competent and reliable science to substantiate those claims.
The terms of the order are similar to those in a recent case wherein the FTC alleged that another company lacked adequate science to substantiate its claims that an herbal supplement helped with opiate withdrawal.
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Richard B. Newman is an Internet marketing compliance and regulatory defense attorney at Hinch Newman LLP focusing on advertising and digital media matters. His practice includes conducting legal compliance reviews of advertising campaigns, representing clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General, commercial litigation, advising clients on promotional marketing programs, and negotiating and drafting legal agreements.
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