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FTC Highlights Work to Protect Consumers From Deceiving Ads from Trial Bar


11.20.20

Earlier this month, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leaders wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging them to crack down on deceptive and dangerous lawsuit advertising and marketing practices by plaintiff lawyers that were potentially jeopardizing patients’ health.

The letter, by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Health Subcommittee Republican Leader Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY), asked several questions regarding the FTC’s actions regarding trial lawyers, the impacts these deceptive practices have on the public health and safety of U.S. communities, and whether these practices violate the FTC Act.

This week, the FTC replied and outlined their work to protect consumers and prevent deceptive or unfair acts or practices. The FTC also outlined how lawsuit advertisements including the text or phrase “medical alert,” “FDA warning,” “drug alert,” or the FDA logo, violate the FTC Act.

For example, “It might violate the FTC Act for lawsuit advertisements to include the FDA logo when the FDA has not been involved in the advertisement or the underlying action.”

Additionally, the FTC wrote that “if the lawsuit advertisement induces or is likely to induce viewers to discontinue their medications, then the ad might need to disclose, clearly and conspicuously, that consumers should not discontinue their medications without seeking the advice of their physician.  Given the significant health and safety risks of discontinuing prescribed medication, such a disclosure should be easily noticeable, use unambiguous language, and be made both audibly and visually.”

You can read the full letter here and learn more about the trial bar here. E&C Republicans will continue working to protect consumers and hold the trial bar accountable.

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