FTC Cracks Down On Company Making Autism Claims
Those behind a “brain training” program that claimed to improve autism and a slew of other serious conditions will pay up under a settlement with federal officials.
The developers and marketers of LearningRx will pay $200,000 under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and have agreed to stop making several false and unsubstantiated claims about their programs.
According to the FTC, LearningRx Franchise Corp. and its CEO Ken Gibson claimed that the programs offered at their more than 80 franchise locations across the country were clinically proven to improve a wide range of conditions including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
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The offerings were promoted in print and radio advertisements, direct mail pieces and in online ads targeted toward consumers who searched terms like “autism cure” and “Asperger cure,” the FTC said.
“Companies that say they can significantly improve serious health conditions or how your brain functions in everyday situations need to back up those claims with sound science,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “In this case, the defendants couldn’t show their training provides the health or other real-world benefits they claimed.”
Under the proposed order settling the FTC allegations filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, there is a judgement of $4 million against LearningRx, but that will be suspended so long as the company pays $200,000.