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NOTE: This website is where you can find advertising law information based on archived news briefs from past issues of Advertising Compliance Service. This archived news brief was published in Advertising Compliance Service in July 2001.





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A second FTC case challenges the marketing and selling of allegedly unproven and dangerous comfrey products via the Web, as part of FTC's "Operation Cure.All." The new target: Western Botanicals, Inc. (WBI). WBI manufactured and marketed a variety of products containing the herbal ingredient comfrey, for both external and internal uses. FTC charged that the company made unfounded claims that the products were beneficial in the treatment of a wide variety of serious diseases and health conditions, and that they were safe.

In fact, comfrey contains toxic substances and, when taken internally, can lead to serious liver damage, according to the FTC. WBI agreed, in a stipulated permanent injunction filed in federal court, to stop marketing comfrey products for internal uses or on open wounds, and to include a warning on comfrey products marketed for external uses. It has also agreed to stop making the challenged safety and health benefit claims.

FTC's vote authorizing staff to file the complaint and proposed stipulated judgment in the Western Botanicals case was 5-0. They were filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, in Sacramento, on July 11, 2001. The proposed judgment is subject to court approval.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.

(Western Botanicals, Inc., et al., FTC File No. 002 3271, Civil Action No. CIV.S-01-1332 DFL GGH, July 13, 2001.)
















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