With increasing regularity and following the recent Supreme Court ruling that the Federal Trade Commission does not have the power to seek monetary relief in federal court pursuant to Section 13 (B) of the FTC Act , the regulatory agency recently opened investigations through civil investigations. requests (CID) in allegedly false, misleading and unfounded statements in violation of section 8023 of the Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act, 2018 (the Act). Such surveys relate, in part, to the advertising, marketing and sale of products that tout a range of treatments, cures and preventative benefits for substance use disorders.
The Act provides that it is illegal to engage in an unfair or deceptive act or practice with respect to any substance use disorder treatment service or substance use disorder treatment product. substance use. It is important to note that Section 8023 of the Opioid Addiction Recovery Fraud Prevention Act, 2018 allows the Federal Trade Commission to request civil penalties for unfair or deceptive acts or practices with respect to any substance use disorder treatment service or substance use disorder treatment product. This article focuses on treatment products for substance use disorders.
The term “substance use disorder treatment product” means a product intended for use or marketed for use in the treatment, cure or prevention of a substance use disorder, including an opioid use disorder.
In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Food and Drug Administration warned many merchants and distributors of opioid withdrawal products that they may be concerned that they are illegally marketing products with unproven claims about it. their ability to assist in the treatment of opioid dependence and withdrawal.
Products that promise miracle cures or quick results are more likely to come under regulatory review. As a product will claim to offer a benefit when it does not. For example, stating or suggesting that a claim is significantly supported by appropriate scientific research when it is not. The FTC and FDA monitor advertising claims about dietary supplements and other health products – and those claims must be true, accurate, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
In general, attorneys for the FTC – when investigating potential violations of the law – inquire about, but not limited to, the number of units sold and to whom they were sold, sales, refunds and chargebacks, websites and social media pages referencing or relating to the product, the persons responsible for the content of each website and social media page, the platforms on which the product is advertised, the words- keys used to perform ad placement, those responsible for creating promotional materials, those responsible for developing the rationale, and human clinical studies testing the product’s effectiveness, FTC investigations also typically look for documents that include , without limitation, copies of advertisements, relevant scientific literature, communications with third parties, consumer complaints and consumer reviews mmateurs.
The types of health-related advertising claims that could potentially fall under the Act, thereby triggering an FTC investigation, are quite broad. This article should therefore be of interest to digital marketers who might fall within the scope of the law. Contact an experienced FTC defense attorney if you would like to discuss implementing preventative measures or if you have received a CID from the Federal Trade Commission asking if there has been a violation of the law.