FTC Charges Connecticut Company Made
Unsubstantiated Claims about Its "Viralizer" Device

FTC News Release
February 6, 1991

The Federal Trade Commission today issued an administrative complaint charging Viral Response Systems, Inc. ("VRS"), and its president, Robert S. Krauser, with making unsubstantiated claims that the Viralizer System, consisting of a hand-held device that blows heated air and a medicated spray into congested nasal passages, eliminates colds and relieves cold symptoms.

According to the complaint, VRS has claimed, in print advertisements that have appeared in several major newspapers and in promotional materials, that the Viralizer System is "a major scientific breakthrough" that eliminates cold symptoms in one day or less, prevents the spread of colds, destroys the viruses responsible for colds, destroys the antibodies that cause allergic reactions, and provides long-term relief from allergy symptoms. In fact, according to the complaint, VRS cannot substantiate any of these claims.

The complaint also alleges VRS has falsely represented that competent and reliable scientific tests have established that the Viralizer System will eliminate or help eliminate cold symptoms in one day or less, or will destroy, disable, or help destroy or disable the viruses responsible for colds. There are no competent and reliable tests that have proven these claims, according to the complaint.

VRS is based in Greenwich, CT.

The Commission files a complaint when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. Such action marks the beginning of a proceeding in which the allegations will be ruled upon after a formal hearing.

If these charges are upheld, the FTC said it could require VRS to possess at least one clinical test or study or, alternatively, FDA approval, for claims that the Viralizer can provide temporary relief of cold or allergy symptoms. Further, the FTC could require VRS to possess at least two clinical tests or studies or, alternatively, FDA approval, for claims that the Viralizer can destroy cold viruses, prevent the spread of colds, or provide long-term relief from allergy symptoms. Finally, the FTC said it could prohibit VRS from misrepresenting "the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test or study," and could seek consumer redress in a district court proceeding.

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