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Current Events in November 2002

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    Blue Stuff Faces $3 Million Fine

    Her Stuff, Essential Stuff, Super Blue Stuff Also Named

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2002 -- Blue Stuff, Inc., McClung Advertising, Inc., and their president, Jack McClung, have agreed to pay $3 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made unsubstantiated claims that Blue Stuff and Super Blue Stuff topical creams will relieve severe pain.

    The FTC alleges that the Oklahoma City-based defendants made unsubstantiated claims for the two products in television infomercials disseminated nationwide through most of 2001 and the first half of this year and on their Blue Stuff web site.

    In addition to requiring the defendants to pay redress, the proposed settlement requires the defendants to possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to support future claims about the health benefits, performance, safety, efficacy, or side effects of any dietary supplement, food, drug, cosmetic, or device.

    The company's promotional materials claim that the products provide significant or complete relief of severe pain, such as "excruciating sciatic nerve pain," pain due to "crushed vertebrae," and "awful" pain due to a brain tumor.

    The active ingredients in Super Blue Stuff are menthol and capsicum oleoresin. Additional ingredients include emu oil, aloe vera, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), witch hazel extract, and other herbs. Blue Stuff contains the same ingredients as Super Blue Stuff, although in different amounts. Both products sell for $59.95 for an eight-ounce jar. According to the FTC's complaint, the defendants did not possess reliable scientific evidence showing that Super Blue Stuff and Blue Stuff, or the ingredients in these products, can relieve or eliminate severe pain.

    The complaint further alleges that the defendants marketed and sold two other products, Essential Stuff and Her Stuff, using false claims.

    Essential Stuff is a dietary supplement capsule containing emu oil and vitamin E. The defendants' ads for Essential Stuff claim that Essential Stuff capsules, taken orally, reduce cholesterol. Her Stuff is a topical cream that purportedly slows or reverses bone loss. The defendants' ads and promotional materials for Her Stuff contained claims such as, "Natural progesterone creams, such as Her Stuff, have been medically proven to slow bone loss and improve bone density up to 15%."

    The order would require the defendants to pay a $3 million judgment in three parts: the first million within 20 days of the date of entry of the order; the second million by December 31, 2002; and the third million in monthly installments throughout 2003, resulting in payment of the entire amount by December 31, 2003. The order also provides that if the defendants default in their payments, the judgment will increase to $4 million and become immediately due.

    Blue Stuff, Inc. products also are the subject of a Food and Drug Administration action. The FDA today issued a warning letter to Blue Stuff, Inc. advising the company that its marketing of Blue Stuff and other products is in violation of the Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

    Blue Stuff, Inc., McClung Advertising, Inc., and their president, have agreed to pay $3 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made u...
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    Miss Cleo Settles for $500 Million

    "Miss Cleo" has seen the future ... and it does not include her

    The operators of her psychic hot line have agreed to cancel $500 million in customer bills, return all uncashed checks to customers and pay a $5 million fi..

    Slip and Fall Accidents No Joke - Inside Edition Finds 13 Million Injured Per Year

    Inside Edition Finds 13 Million Injuries Per Year

    NEW YORK, Nov. 8, 2002 -- The slip and fall accident is known to many as an age-old con designed to scam stores and malls out of easy settlement money. But, as Inside Edition reports on Monday, November 11, the majority of falls in stores are genuine, many caused when unsuspecting shoppers encounter slippery floor surfaces. In fact, slips, trips and falls cause about 16,000 deaths a year.

    For Toni Rodgers, 63, of West Monroe, Louisiana life has never been the same since she tripped and fell outside a Texas convenience store two years ago, shattering her shoulder. Toni explains, I was coming across the carpet, tripped and fell, and hit my shoulder on the edge of the door that the gentleman was holding open for me.

    Despite two surgeries, Toni says she has regained just 35 percent function in her left arm. She relies on her husband Luke to perform many tasks she once took for granted. Even to this day, I can't even hook my own bra. I can't do my own hair. I can't lift much at all with that arm. Something that sounds as simple as a slip or fall can change your whole life.

    But if you think falls only happen to the elderly, think again. Even athletes in the best of health can fall victim. Former NBA All Star Robert Reid tells Inside Edition that in 14 years of playing professional ball he never slipped and fell while running up and down the court. But when Reid came off an elevator in a Houston hotel, he ran into a wet spot and fell. My right foot hit that wet spot and next thing you know I'm flying up in the air and I came down and I blacked out. Reid, who needed two surgeries to repair his knee, sued the hotel and was awarded $285,000.

    At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, researchers are trying to find out exactly what happens when people fall. Dr. Mark Redfern explains, The ultimate goal is to try to prevent injuries from falls, and what we're trying to do in this research is understand how people control their bodies when they slip.

    Dr. Redfern puts Inside Editions Matt Meagher through a test, in which the senior investigative reporter is made to slip and fall. A three dimensional image of his fall, shows that Meagher, according to Dr. Redfern, could have easily suffered a hip fracture or severe lower back injury if it was not for the safety harness that was placed on him.

    As part of its report, Inside Editions undercover cameras document slip and fall hazards at various supermarkets in the New York area. The syndicated newsmagazine found grapes, wilted lettuce, coffee, ice and water on the floors. Most problems werent cleaned up until Inside Edition brought them to workers attention.

    Russell Kendzior of the National Floor Safety Institute says some floors can be slippery even if nothing is spilled on them. He explains that oils in some polishes can make them even more dangerous. As that floor becomes highly reflective or shiny, it also brings with it an increased number of slips and falls. By changing the way you maintain your floor, you can prevent up to 85% of the current slips and falls taking place.

    And now, consumers and businesses can purchase new high traction floor polishes, which are designed to reduce slips. While technology may provide some relief from these kinds of accidents, experts say that as America ages, the number of slips, trips and falls will continue to rise.

    Slip and Fall, Accident, Inside Edition, Injured, floor, stairs, sidewalk, polish...
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      Infomercial Doctor Agrees to Stifle SNORenz Claims

      WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2002 -- Dr. Robert M. Currier, who appeared in infomercials for a purported anti-snoring product called SNORenz, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that he made unsubstantiated claims about the product.

      SNORenz is a dietary supplement consisting of oils and vitamins that snorers spray on the back of their throat. The FTC alleges that Dr. Currier made numerous false or unsubstantiated statements implying that he conducted a study that proved that SNORenz is an effective treatment for snoring, and that SNORenz reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea - a potentially life-threatening breathing disorder.

      The proposed consent agreement requires Dr. Currier to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate any claims that SNORenz or any other food, drug, or dietary supplement reduces or eliminates snoring, or that the product eliminates, reduces, or mitigates the symptoms of sleep apnea. The proposed consent agreement also requires him to evaluate substantiation for efficacy claims whenever he appears as an expert endorser.

      Dr. Currier is a doctor of osteopathic medicine with a specialty in eye surgery and disease of the eye. He appeared in the same infomercials that were the subject of two previously approved FTC consent orders involving Med Gen, Inc., (the manufacturer of SNORenz) and Tru-Vantage International, LLC (the producer of SNORenz infomercials).

      Specifically, the FTC's complaint charges that Dr. Currier failed to have a reasonable basis for claims he made about the efficacy of SNORenz in significantly reducing or eliminating snoring, reducing or eliminating snoring for six to eight hours, and treating the symptoms of sleep apnea.

      In addition, the complaint alleges that Dr. Currier falsely represented that clinical research proved the efficacy of SNORenz. The complaint further alleges that he failed to disclose that the product is not intended to treat sleep apnea and that persons experiencing sleep apnea should seek medical attention. Finally, the complaint alleges that Dr. Currier made claims as an expert endorser about the efficacy of SNORenz without disclosing his material connection to Med Gen, and without exercising his purported expertise to determine the accuracy of these claims.

      The proposed settlement allows Dr. Currier to make representations specifically permitted in the labeling for any product regulated by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Nutrition Labeling & Education Act of 1990.

      Infomercial Doctor Agrees to Stifle SNORenz Claims...
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