The US Federal Trade Commission has settled with Kris Pletschke, a marketer of dietary supplements which he claimed could cure hundreds of diseases.
The FTC added that it had also reached an agreement with Vital Living Products over its erroneous advertising of anthrax test kits. Both cases are the latest in a series of actions by the Federal Trade Commission to combat the deceptive promotion of bioterrorism-related products following the 11 September hijackings and subsequent anthrax attacks.
Neither Pletschke nor Vital Living Products admit breaking the law, and Pletschke said he planned to appeal against the FTC's ruling. ''I'm very confident that the information I put on the website wasn't misleading,'' he said.
Through his Raw Health Web site, Pletschke marketed a colloidal silver product which he claimed could treat or cure 650 different diseases, including anthrax, Ebola and flesh-eating bacteria. Under the terms of the settlement, Pletschke is prohibited from making false health claims about any product and must offer refunds to consumers who bought the colloidal silver.
The order prohibiting Pletschke from deceptive practices is effective immediately without the usual month-long comment period, a step used only in situations that could cause ''substantial and imminent public harm,'' the FTC said. Pletschke could face civil penalties of $11,000 for each violation if he breaks the agreement.
Since November, the FTC has sent e-mail warnings to the operators of more than 120 websites selling products claiming to treat or protect against anthrax, smallpox and other potential biological weapons. The ineffective remedies included dietary supplements such as oregano oil and zinc mineral water.