FTC Charges That Baldness Cure Claims
for "Helsinki Formula" Are False
Seeks Injunction and Consumer Refunds
FTC News Release
November 18, 1988
The Federal Trade Commission has charged that advertising claims that "Helsinki Formula" products will cure or prevent baldness are false and deceptive. The Commission filed its complaint in federal court against Pantron I Corporation, two related companies, and their principal officer.
The complaint alleges that "Helsinki Formula" was advertised by various means, including 30-minute television commercials produced especially for Pantron, called the "Discover" program and "Robert Vaughn Discovers." The company made such claims as "All [test] results were positive and concluded that the Helsinki Formula was, indeed, a valid treatment for hair loss," and "Loss of hair reduced within 2 to 3 weeks from start of treatment."
The complaint charges that the defendants falsely claimed that the product:
- curtails hair loss, thus relieving or preventing baldness, including male pattern baldness;
- promotes the growth of new hair where hair has already been lost, thus curing or reversing the advance of baldness, on persons including those who have male pattern baldness or have become totally bald; and
- is an effective remedy for baldness, including male pattern baldness, in a large majority of cases.
In addition, according to the complaint, the defendants falsely represented that they had competent and reliable tests or studies to substantiate their claims.
As a result of these false claims, consumers have suffered "substantial monetary injury" and the defendants "have received and continue to receive substantial unjust enrichment," the complaint alleges. The Commission asked the US District Court for the Central District of California to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions and order the defendants to pay refunds to consumers.
The three companies named in the complaint are: Pantron I Corporation; Pantron II Corp.; and Pantron III Corp. They are all based in Los Angeles. The complaint also names Hal Z. Lederman, alleged to control the companies, who lives in Toluca Lake, Calif.
The case is being handled by the FTC's Seattle Regional Office.
- Federal Trade Commission v. Pantron I Corporation. Civil Action No. 88-6696 (Central District of California) (rev’d in part and aff’d in part, 33 F.3d 1088, 9th Cir. Aug. 25, 1994; cert. denied, 115 SCt 1794). FTC File No. 872-3191.
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.