FTC Cracks Down on Cancer 'Cure'

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The Federal Trade Commission began a crackdown yesterday against marketers of the dietary supplement coral calcium, who claim the product can be used to combat cancer.


Letters that were sent to Web site operators marketing the supplement online warned against making unsubstantiated claims and instructed them to remove claims that coral calcium is an effective treatment for cancer, the FTC said.


In addition, the FTC announced a lawsuit against marketers whom the agency accused of making unsubstantiated claims about coral calcium in infomercials.


Defendants Shop America, Deonna Inc., Kevin Trudeau and Robert Barefoot ran 30-minute infomercials on national cable channels including Women's Entertainment, Comedy Central, Discovery and Bravo, the FTC said.


The infomercial offered 90 capsules of the product Coral Calcium Supreme for $19.95 and unlawfully claimed that the product, composed of marine coral from Okinawa, Japan, could treat cancer, multiple sclerosis and heart disease, according to the FTC.


The FTC also filed a separate complaint against Trudeau, whom it charged with violating a 1998 order prohibiting him from making unsubstantiated claims.


Trudeau additionally faced an FTC complaint alleging that he made unsubstantiated claims in another infomercial, which ran on the PAX, E! and Hallmark cable channels, for Biotape, a product that purportedly relieved pain and sold for $10 for a sheet of 10 strips, the FTC said.


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