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.