FTC Cites False Claims for Purported
"In-Home" AIDS Diagnostic Test
Court-Filed Judgments Settle Charges
FTC News Release
October 3, 1989
The Federal Trade Commission has charged that the three former officers of TBA Inc. falsely claimed to prospective distributors and consumers alike that their "Medico" in-home "AIDS test" could diagnose AIDS. The defendants agreed to settle the charges and pay refunds to distributors and consumers, under consent judgments filed in federal court.
The Commission's complaint charges that the defendants claimed their in-home AIDS test could detect the AIDS virus, representing that the test had a physiological or chemical basis. The complaint further charges that these representations were false because the test was only a written lifestyle questionnaire, and "incapable of accurately detecting the presence of the AIDS virus."
The complaint also charges that the defendants falsely represented that the US Food and Drug Administration had approved the test and that the US Surgeon General had stated that everyone in the United States should be tested for the AIDS virus.
In addition, the complaint charges that the defendants misrepresented the amount of money Medico distributors could earn from their distributorships. The complaint further alleges that the defendants had no reasonable basis or substantiation for the advertising claims for the test or for the earnings claims for distributors.
Under the consent judgments, the three individuals will pay a total of $62,000 in redress. The Commission will use this money to pay refunds to those who bought distributorships and/or the Medico AIDS test.
The three defendants, David A. Feiler, Margaret Martella, and Arte Azenzer, were officers and directors of TBA, Inc., which did business under the name Medico Inc. before going out of business in 1988. Under separate consent judgments, they agreed not to misrepresent:
- the nature or ability of any product, test, service, or procedure represented to diagnose the existence of any disease, medical condition or physical condition, including AIDS;
- the approval by any government agency, including the Food and Drug Administration, of any product, service, test, or procedure;
- the recommendation or advice of any government official, including the Surgeon General; and
- the likelihood of success or the profitability of any distributorship, franchise, or business venture.
The complaint and the stipulated final orders and judgments were filed in the US District Court for the District of Nevada. The FTC's San Francisco Regional Office handled the investigation.
- Civil Action No. CV-S-89-713 (District of Nevada).
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.