Marketers of Phony AIDS Cure "Immune Plus" Agree to Refund
Consumers' Money to Settle Federal Trade Commission Charges
FTC News Release
October 22, 1991
The makers and marketers of Immune Plus, a nutritional supplement that the Federal Trade Commission charged was falsely touted as a cure for AIDS, have agreed to settle those charges under a proposed plan that includes refunds to consumers who purchased the product. The FTC said it was able to limit consumer injury by completing its investigation and filing suit before the product was marketed nationwide.
The settlement agreements, which require the approval of the court, also include permanent injunctions against the allegedly false claims, and requirements that the defendants have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate any future claims regarding the efficacy of Immune Plus or any other food or drug product they market.
The proposed consent judgments stem from a complaint the FTC filed in district court last February charging the makers and marketers of Immune Plus with falsely representing that the product could:
- cure patients with AIDS or AIDS-related complex (ARC) or help them go into remission,
- eliminate or reduce AIDS or ARC symptoms, and
- cause an individual who had tested HIV-positive to become HIV-negative.
The complaint also alleges that the defendants claimed Immune Plus had been shown to be effective by scientifically valid clinical studies, when that was not the case. The claims were made in newspaper advertisements and in a promotional videotape.
The court immediately granted the FTC's request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction halting
The consent judgments were signed by defendants International White Cross, Inc., of Carrollton, TX, the principal distributor of Immune Plus; True Health, Inc., of Dallas, TX, the manufacturer and original distributer; AMW Advertising Agency, which created ads for Immune Plus; Terry L. Pulse, MD, a Grand Prairie, TX, physician who appeared in the videotape endorsing the product; the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, headquartered in Hopland, CA, a distributor for International White Cross; and seven individuals who are officials of these organizations. These defendants all would be bound by the proposed permanent injunctions described above. In addition, under the judgments, International White Cross and True Health would be required to mail refund checks directly to purchasers of Immune Plus within 20 days after the judgments are approved by the court.
The FTC also asked the court to dismiss charges against two remaining individual defendants and a fourth corporation it had named in its February complaint.
The proposed consent judgments were filed yesterday in US District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Francisco, and require the approval of the court. The case was handled by the FTC's San Francisco Regional Office.
- Civil Action No. C-91-0377 (Northern District of California).
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This page was posted on August 27, 2006.