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On Friday, the FTC announced what would ordinarily be an unremarkable enforcement action against a company for unsubstantiated earnings claims.  The FTC alleges that WealthPress, an investment advice company purporting to offer training from experts on trading strategies, made a series of unsubstantiated earnings claims such as “make $24,840 or more every single week,” “track

Yesterday, the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection released its Health Products Compliance Guidance—a sweeping overhaul of the 1998 Guidance, Dietary Supplements: An Advertising Guide for Industry.  Unlike the recently announced effort to review its Green Guides, the FTC did not seek public comment prior to issuing this update. 

According to an FTC blog post that accompanied its release, the new Guidance purports to “correct misunderstandings” and “urban myths” that have circulated about FTC substantiation standards.  In actuality, however, the new Guidance represents a recitation of some of the positions the agency has taken in health-related enforcement matters over the last decade, continuing a stark departure from the prior “flexible” approach to substantiation set forth in the 1998 Guidance.

While FTC guidance does not have the force and effect of law, if a person or company fails to comply with a guide, the Commission might bring an enforcement action alleging an unfair or deceptive practice in violation of the FTC Act.  This makes the new Guidance a must-read for any company operating in the food, supplement, personal care, health equipment or app, or related industries. 

While there is quite a bit of material to digest in this new Guidance, including a new definition of what constitutes a clear and conspicuous disclosure and an entirely new section addressing advertisers’ mischaracterization of FDA approval, here are two main takeaways: 

First, the 2022 Guidance encompasses a far wider industry scope than its predecessor.  While the 1998 Guidance was, by title and content, focused on dietary supplement products, the 2022 Guidance purports to guide advertising practices for “any health-related product,” including dietary supplements, foods, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, homeopathic products, devices, health equipment, diagnostic tests, and health-related apps.” 

Continue Reading Misguided:  The FTC Attempts to Redefine the Law with its Health Products Compliance Guidance

In today’s open meeting, the FTC voted unanimously to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) considering expansions to and revisions of the FTC’s existing Business Opportunity Rule (“BOR”). This will be the first review of the BOR since it was promulgated back in December 2011.  In her statement announcing the ANPR, Chair Khan

On September 21, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., cited the Kelley Drye article “The Deletion of ‘Legitimate Business Activity’ from the FTC’s Strategic Plan” during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing before entering it into the record. From the transcript:

*Mr. Bilirakis.

For years, the FTC has been tasked with the critical  

On Wednesday, we described draft legislation circulating in the Senate Commerce Committee that would have given the Federal Trade Commission almost unfettered authority to enjoin permanently any act, practice or method of competition that did not meet its approval. https://www.adlawaccess.com/2022/05/articles/senate-commerce-committee-chair-pushes-one-sided-13b-fix/  All the Commission would need to do is show that a reasonable person had fair

The one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC has renewed calls for Congressional action to expand and codify the Federal Trade Commission’s enforcement authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. Last Thursday, we wrote here about the agency’s most recent open meeting, during which Commissioners heard from a key Senate staffer that Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) intended to introduce what she hoped would be a bipartisan fix. Yesterday, Chair Cantwell’s bill was made public, and its terms render any hope of bipartisan support a long-shot, at best, with little likelihood of garnering the Republican support needed to clear the chamber.

The bill’s release followed the May 2 release of a Senate Commerce Committee report entitled Restoring the Federal Trade Commission’s Authority to Protect Consumers and the Marketplace – an 80-page report, more than 50 pages of which purported to list dollar amounts received in each state due to “FTC cases resulting in significant refunds” (many of which were settlements never actually litigated under Section 13(b)). The report echoed much of what we heard from Commissioners last week – that AMG has created an enforcement void for the agency and no alternative enforcement approaches come close to 13(b)’s ability to protect consumers and provide monetary redress. The report couched the court’s decision as particularly damaging to the agency’s efforts to curtail “Big Tech and Pharma’s ability to harm consumers and fledgling businesses.”
Continue Reading Senate Commerce Committee Chair Pushes One-Sided 13(b) Fix

FTC Uses AMG Anniversary to Push for a Bipartisan 13(b) Legislative Fix in an Increasingly Partisan EnvironmentDuring the Federal Trade Commission’s April 28 open meeting, Commissioners utilized the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC to highlight the implications of the ruling that gutted their enforcement authority under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. Commissioners called yet again for a legislative fix and

The FTC Seeks Comments and Signals Changes to Come in New Rulemaking on Earnings ClaimsAs we previewed last week here, the FTC released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on earnings claims as it embarked on a mission to adopt a rule that would give the FTC, in its own words, “an important new tool to return money to consumers injured by deceptive income claims, and to

Kick-Off Time for FTC Rulemaking on Earnings ClaimsLast Thursday (February 10), the FTC announced that it “will vote” at its February 17 open meeting to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on “deceptive earnings claims for business ventures, gig or other work opportunities, or educational, coaching or training offerings.” Here’s our take on what we can glean from this announcement

 5 min  PLAY   Senate Spars with FTC BCP Director Sam Levine over FTC Enforcement, Surprisingly from Both SidesYesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security held its second hearing in less than a year on COVID-19 fraud, price gouging, and related enforcement efforts. Groundhog Day Eve was a fitting date for the hearing, as the Federal Trade Commission – this time through Bureau of Consumer Protection