Connecticut Company Agrees to Settle FTC Charges That
Cold and Allergy Cure Claims Were False and Unsubstantiated
FTC News Release
January 27, 1992
Viral Response Systems, Inc. (VRS) and its president, Robert S. Krauser, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false and unsubstantiated claims regarding the efficacy of their "Viralizer System" for treating colds and allergies. Under a proposed settlement agreement announced today for public comment, VRS would be prohibited from making such claims in the future without adequate substantiation.
The FTC issued a complaint against VRS and Krauser last February. The Viralizer System is a hand-held device, similar to a portable hair-dryer, that blows warm, dry air and medicated sprays into nasal or oral passages. According to the FTC's complaint, VRS represented in print advertisements in several major newspapers and in promotional materials, that the Viralizer System is "a major scientific breakthrough" that eliminates or helps eliminate cold symptoms in one day or less, destroys or helps destroy the viruses responsible for colds, prevents or helps prevent the spread of colds, destroys or helps destroy the antibodies that cause allergic reactions, and provides or helps provide long-term relief from allergy symptoms. In fact, according to the complaint, VRS could not substantiate any of these claims.
The FTC also alleged that VRS falsely represented that competent and reliable scientific tests had established that the system would eliminate or help eliminate cold symptoms in one day or less, or would destroy or disable the viruses responsible for colds. No such tests have established these claims, the FTC charged.
Under the proposed consent agreement to settle these charges, VRS and Krauser would be prohibited from representing that the Viralizer System can or will:
- destroy, disable, or help destroy or disable any virus responsible for the onset or continuance of colds;
- prevent or help prevent the spread or transmission of colds;
- provide or help provide permanent or long-term relief from any allergy symptom;
- destroy, disable, or help destroy or disable, any antibody that plays a part in the manifestation of any allergic reaction; or
- cure or help cure colds,
unless, at the time of the representations, the respondents possess at least two adequate and well-controlled, double-blind clinical studies that support the claim or, alternatively, they have approval from the Food and Drug Administration to make the claim.
The proposed order also would require VRS to possess at least one adequate and well-controlled, double-blind clinical study or, alternatively, FDA approval, to support any claim that the Viralizer System can or will eliminate, alleviate, relieve or reduce temporary cold symptoms or allergy symptoms.
Further, the proposed order would prohibit VRS from misrepresenting the existence, content, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test or study.
VRS is based in Greenwich, CT.
- FTC File No. 872-3171. FTC Docket No. D-9245.
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