Penalty Sought for Marketer of Acne-Statin

FTC Charges Ad Claims Are Deceptive

FTC News Release
October 30, 1995

Magazine ads and television infomercials claiming that the over-the-counter acne remedy, "Acne-Statin" is effective in treating severe or cystic acne and is superior to other acne treatments, are unsubstantiated, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The claims violate a 1979 order prohibiting Atida Karr from making unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness or superiority of any acne preparation she markets, according to papers filed today in federal court. The FTC has asked the court to order a halt to the deceptive ads, to freeze Karr's assets to preserve funds and to impose civil penalties on Karr, Atida Karr Enterprises, Inc. and Eton Derma Laboratories, Inc. for violating the 1979 order. Karr and her Beverly Hills, California based companies sell Acne-Statin and the Acne-Statin Kit.

The 1979 order prohibits Karr and her firms from advertising the effectiveness or superiority of any acne preparation unless the claim is supported by competent and reliable scientific or medical evidence. Karr paid $175,000 into a consumer refund account as part of the 1979 settlement of the initial case. The case filed today seeks to enforce that order.

According to the FTC, Karr appears in television infomercials making claims about the effectiveness and superiority of her product, such as: "Most of the people who wrote to me had acne for many years and couldnŐt find anything to clear their skin, that is, until they discovered Acne-Statin." Product endorsers claim Acne-Statin was effective in treating their severe or cystic acne. At the time Karr and her company made the claims, they did not have competent and reliable scientific or medical evidence to support the claims, the complaint alleges.

"Patients with cystic acne or acne as severe as that depicted in the informercials who delay receiving appropriate medical treatment run a risk of serious facial scarring," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We intend to protect consumers from deceptive claims and to enforce our orders when they are violated," she said.

The FTC has asked the court for a preliminary injunction, a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze, pending trial. It will seek civil penalties and a permanent injunction to bar future violations of the original order. The FTC Act authorizes the court to award penalties as high as $10,000 for each violation of a Commission order.

The Commission vote to file the complaint was 5-0.

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This page was posted on December 23, 2005.

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