Rexall Sundown Inc. -- which pitched its Cellasene cellulite treatment in a
widely distributed video-news release, as well as in TV, radio, print and
Internet ads -- has agreed to pay "up to $12 million" to settle a Federal Trade
Commission complaint against its marketing practices.
The "up to" in that figure represents the settlement of various class-action
suits against the company.
The VNR -- which the FTC said prompted stories "throughout the country" --
talked up the product's "impressive" clinical trials.
The commission countered in a July 2000 suit that the claims Rexall had of
clinical evidence of Cellasene's efficacy were false.
"Hundreds of thousands of consumers were misled by the claims for this
product," said Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer
The agency late last year pledged to crack down on the marketing of
weight-loss products, and Beales issued another warning: "This case should alert
advertisers to the fact that their chances of getting away with making
unsubstantiated claims are slim to none."
The settlement is not an admission of guilt by Rexall.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.