FTC Sues Medical Clinic and its Owner for False or Unsubstantiated Claims its Treatment Could Cure Addiction and Other Diseases

The Federal Trade Commission took motion less than the Opioid Habit Recovery Fraud Prevention Act (OARFPA), suing Dr. Dalal A. Akoury and a set of providers she controls that run as AWAREmed Health & Wellness Resource Centre, a professional medical clinic, for creating a vast array of bogus or unsupported promises for habit treatment companies, most cancers therapy providers, and the treatment of other critical conditions. The Department of Justice filed the circumstance on the FTC’s behalf.

AwareMed Ad

The proposed order settling the Commission’s grievance bars Dr. Akoury and her AWAREmed clinic from earning such unsupported claims and requires her to pay a $100,000 civil penalty.

“The opioid crisis statements life and destroys communities all throughout the United States but in particular in rural regions,” mentioned Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Buyer Defense. “Doctors peddling phony guarantees need to know that the FTC will use its strengthened authority from Congress to end them from exploiting Americans battling with dependancy.”

Dr. Akoury’s AWAREmed clinic is based in Johnson City, Tennessee, and previously was situated in Myrtle Seashore, South Carolina. Since at minimum 2018, the complaint states, the AWAREmed defendants have marketed a assortment of treatments for individuals struggling from addiction such as compound use disorders from opioids to alcohol. Other deceptive therapy ads for cancer and continual illnesses like Parkinson’s sickness and Alzheimer’s disorder.

In their advertisements, the defendants explained their clinic as the “Most Effective Healthcare Clinic Everywhere,” and claimed that it “Boasts a 98{fc1509ea675b3874d16a3203a98b9a1bd8da61315181db431b4a7ea1394b614e} Improvement Rate…Treating Just About…Anything,” which includes addictions to methadone and other medication, alcohol, meals, and gambling. Irrespective of becoming warned by the FTC that generating unsupported dependancy therapy statements is illegal, the defendants continued to declare devoid of evidence that their cure was “rapid, painless, successful, and harmless,” and had greater final results in less time than 30-working day treatment courses.

The defendants also utilised their web page to advertise their most cancers remedies, professing that individuals would experience “exceptional effects,” and that almost all clients at any ailment phase would improve moderately to drastically soon after procedure at the AWAREmed clinic. In identical advertisements, the defendants repeated their statements of in close proximity to-common results for continual disorders this sort of as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Eventually, the FTC alleges that in 2017 and 2018, Dr. Akoury appeared in practically 100 quick Television set segments hosted by reporters with Fox News’s Myrtle Seashore affiliate, promoting AWAREmed in what appeared to be news interviews. It was never disclosed, nevertheless, that some of all those appearances have been in fact paid adverts placed by Dr. Akoury.

In addition to barring the defendants from violating the FTC Act and OARFPA, the proposed courtroom buy prohibits them from generating the misleading health promises alleged in the grievance, requires them to have proficient and dependable scientific proof for any wellbeing-related claims they make in promoting and advertising and marketing, and prohibits them from formatting advertisements in a way that may possibly be interpreted as information or informational programing. It also demands them to pay a $100,000 civil penalty.

The Commission vote authorizing the employees to file the complaint and proposed buy was 4-. The DOJ filed the complaint and get on behalf of the FTC in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.