The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has filed civil contempt charges against Lane Labs, Inc., its president Andrew Lane, and William Lane for violating FTC orders entered in 2000 requiring them to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate ad claims and prohibiting deceptive claims about tests, studies, or research. The FTC alleged that Lane Labs and Andrew Lane violated the order against them by claiming that Fertil Male, a dietary supplement, enhances male fertility. The FTC also alleged that Lane Labs, Andrew Lane, and William Lane violated the FTC orders by claiming that AdvaCAL, a calcium supplement also sold as AAACa, is superior to other calcium products and on par with or superior to prescription drugs used to fight osteoporosis.
The defendants entered into the orders in 2000 to settle FTC charges that they made unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of two products – BeneFin and SkinAnswer – in the prevention, treatment, and cure of cancer. According to the FTC, the defendants’ claims that Fertil Male improves male fertility are based on flawed scientific studies. The Commission also charged that the defendants have made numerous unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of AdvaCAL, and misrepresented test results and studies involving AdvaCAL and other calcium products. The FTC charged that the studies do not support the claims, and that the studies of AdvaCAL are “fatally flawed.”
The FTC charged that the defendants do not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up their claims and have misrepresented the results of scientific research when claiming:
Fertil Male improves male fertility;
AdvaCAL is more absorbable than other types of calcium;
AdvaCAL is superior to other calcium or prescription drug products at building bone or increasing bone mineral density; and
AdvaCAL is superior to other calcium products in preventing or reducing the risk of fractures.
The products are sold on the Internet, in catalogs, by direct mail, on infomercials, and at retail. A one-month supply of Fertil Male costs $34.95 at retail. A 25-day supply of AdvaCAL costs $39.95 at retail.
The FTC is seeking to recover all revenues stemming from the defendants’ order violations.
The Commission’s application for an order to show cause why defendants should not be held in contempt was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on January 12, 2007.
Copies of the documents from the Lane Labs matter are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.