FTC Announces Preliminary Injunction
against Pacific Medical Clinics

FTC News Release
October 25, 1990

The Federal Trade Commission announced that a federal court has issued a preliminary injunction against a chain of weight-loss clinics who have operated under the name of Pacific Medical Clinics Management, Inc. (Medical Clinics), and its principal, James Norman Wells, prohibiting them from falsely advertising that, through their "medically-safe" program, consumers can adjust their metabolism and lose up to one and one-half pounds a day. At the same time, the Commission issued a consumer brochure about quick weight-loss programs generally.

Pacific Medical Clinics Management, Inc., which is based in San Diego, California, also operates clinics in Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland under several different names. In Nevada, it operates under the name Medical Clinics, Inc.; in Texas, under the name American Medical Clinics, Inc.; in Georgia, under the name Georgia Medical Clinics, Inc.; in Virginia, under the name Medical Clinics, Inc.; and in Maryland, under the name Medical Slenderizing, Inc. The individual defendant, James Norman Wells, is also known as Johnny Norman Wells, John Holmes, and Duke Wells.

Last month the FTC filed a complaint charging that Medical Clinics, through television, radio and print advertisements, claimed that their weight reduction program was "medically safe" and could produce an effective weight loss of up to one and one-half pounds a day by adjusting a person's metabolism. The Commission's complaint charged that Medical Clinics falsely represented:

  1. that strict adherence to their programs would produce an adjustment in a person's metabolic rate sufficient to cause significant weight loss;
  2. that by ingesting GHR tablets, and powdered protein supplements in the form of drinks and puddings, by maintaining a 1200-1300 calorie-a-day, high protein, low carbohydrate diet and, in some cases, ingesting Synthroid, participants in their programs experience a sufficient adjustment in metabolic rate to cause significant weight loss; and
  3. that an appreciable number of participants in defendants' programs lose an average of one and one-half pounds a day each day they are on the program.

In fact, the Commission alleged, defendants' programs do not produce a sufficient adjustment in a person's metabolic rate to cause significant weight loss, and any weight loss that does occur is a result of the low calorie diet that is an integral part of the programs. GHR does not reduce a person's fat tissue, nor do the powdered protein supplements or Synthroid cause a sufficient adjustment in a person's metabolic rate to cause significant weight loss, the complaint alleges.

On Sept. 17, the US District Court for the Southern District of California issued a temporary restraining order against Medical Clinics prohibiting them from making further deceptive claims and freezing their assets.

On Sept. 27, Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr. issued and signed the preliminary injunction to prevent Medical Clinics and Wells from making the misrepresentations and continuing the freeze on their assets.

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