The Federal Commerce Fee took motion below the Opioid Habit Restoration Fraud Prevention Act (OARFPA), suing Dr. Dalal A. Akoury and a set of corporations she controls that function as AWAREmed Well being & Wellness Useful resource Heart, a medical clinic, for making a variety of false or unsupported claims for habit remedy providers, most cancers remedy providers, and the remedy of different critical situations. The Division of Justice filed the case on the FTC’s behalf.
The proposed order settling the Fee’s criticism bars Dr. Akoury and her AWAREmed clinic from making such unsupported claims and requires her to pay a $100,000 civil penalty.
“The opioid disaster claims lives and destroys communities all throughout the USA however particularly in rural areas,” stated Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Client Safety. “Medical doctors peddling phony guarantees ought to know that the FTC will use its strengthened authority from Congress to cease them from exploiting Individuals scuffling with habit.”
Dr. Akoury’s AWAREmed clinic is predicated in Johnson Metropolis, Tennessee, and beforehand was situated in Myrtle Seashore, South Carolina. Since at the very least 2018, the criticism states, the AWAREmed defendants have marketed a variety of therapies for sufferers affected by habit together with substance use issues from opioids to alcohol. Different misleading remedy commercials for most cancers and power ailments like Parkinson’s illness and Alzheimer’s illness.
Of their adverts, the defendants described their clinic because the “Most Efficient Medical Clinic Anyplace,” and claimed that it “Boasts a 98% Enchancment Charge…Treating Simply About…Something,” together with addictions to methadone and different medicine, alcohol, meals, and playing. Regardless of being warned by the FTC that making unsupported habit remedy claims is illegal, the defendants continued to say with out proof that their remedy was “fast, painless, efficient, and secure,” and had higher leads to much less time than 30-day remedy packages.
The defendants additionally used their web site to advertise their most cancers therapies, claiming that sufferers would expertise “distinctive outcomes,” and that just about all sufferers at any illness stage would enhance reasonably to considerably after remedy on the AWAREmed clinic. In comparable adverts, the defendants repeated their claims of near-universal success for power ailments comparable to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Lastly, the FTC alleges that in 2017 and 2018, Dr. Akoury appeared in almost 100 transient TV segments hosted by reporters with Fox Information’s Myrtle Seashore affiliate, selling AWAREmed in what gave the impression to be information interviews. It was by no means disclosed, nevertheless, that a few of these appearances have been truly paid adverts positioned by Dr. Akoury.
Along with barring the defendants from violating the FTC Act and OARFPA, the proposed courtroom order prohibits them from making the misleading well being claims alleged within the criticism, requires them to have competent and dependable scientific proof for any health-related claims they make in promoting and advertising, and prohibits them from formatting adverts in a manner that could be interpreted as information or informational programing. It additionally requires them to pay a $100,000 civil penalty.
The Fee vote authorizing the employees to file the criticism and proposed order was 4-0. The DOJ filed the criticism and order on behalf of the FTC within the U.S. District Courtroom for the Japanese District of Tennessee.