Marketer of Breast-Growth Supplement Settles FTC Charge

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A direct response marketer of a dietary supplement it claims can enhance breast size without surgery settled charges of deceptive advertising with the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said yesterday.

Vital Dynamics Inc., Canoga Park, CA, agreed to pay $50,000 and refrain from making claims it cannot back with scientific evidence. The full amount the company and its principals owe consumers is about $22 million, which they will have to pay if they are found to have given a false account of their financial condition, the FTC said.

The company marketed the Isis dietary product via a toll-free number, advertised in print, radio, television and Internet media, for $199 to $599 for a six-month supply. In its ads, Vital Dynamics used testimonials, including one from an anonymous woman who claimed she "went from wearing an 'A' cup to a 'B' cup" and another from a doctor.

Ads claimed Isis encourages breast growth by stimulating pituitary and hormonal activity and that it does not cause side effects, the FTC said. The FTC charged that Vital Dynamics lacked evidence that use of Isis imparted the claimed benefits and that consumers who used the product did complain of side effects, including headache, nausea and allergic reactions.

In prepared scripts, inbound telephone agents for Vital Dynamics promised Isis customers a 90-day money-back guarantee, the FTC said. The company deterred consumers from seeking the promised refund by requiring them to obtain an authorization number, which they were unable to obtain, the FTC charged.

FTC officials have said they are cracking down on advertisers of weight-loss products and other dietary supplements. They also have warned magazine publishers and others in the media that they are responsible for taking precautions against running false advertising and could be held liable.

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