The Federal Trade Commission has charged that Smart Inventions, Inc., a California-based direct response TV company, made false and unsubstantiated claims that a product called Biotape can treat or cure severe pain.

The FTC complaint, filed in the Central District of California, also alleges that the defendants falsely claimed Biotape is superior to commonly available over-the-counter analgesics and topical creams and ointments in treating pain.

The defendants advertised Biotape, which resembles electrical tape, primarily through a 30-minute infomercial that aired nationally on various cable stations, including Womens Entertainment, The Discovery Channel, and the Inspirational Network.

Darrell Stoddard who developed Biotape and is featured in the infomercial along with the infomercial host Kevin Trudeau and the company's chief operating officerr, Jon D. Nokes also are named as defendants.

The infomercial sold Biotape in conjunction with Stoddards book, Pain Free for Life. A sheet of 10 adhesive Biotape strips costs approximately $10. The infomercial directed consumers to apply Biotape to the parts of their bodies where they experience pain. Biotape was purported to contain a space age conductive mylar that connects the broken circuits that cause the pain.

The FTC complaint alleges that the defendants have falsely and without substantiation claimed that Biotape: (1) significantly and permanently relieves severe pain caused by surgical procedures, arthritis, migraines, and other serious conditions; and (2) is superior to other products and treatments, such as over-the-counter analgesics and topical creams and ointments, in eliminating or relieving severe pain.

In a separate action filed by the Commission in June 2003, the FTC previously sued Trudeau for his role in making false or unsubstantiated pain-relief claims in the Biotape infomercial, charging that such claims violated a 1998 federal district court order. This contempt action against Trudeau is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.