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Public urged to be wary of knee pain study

20 July 2004

Commission warns public to be wary of knee pain study: action pending against US company

The Commerce Commission is warning members of the public to be wary of a Knee Pain 'Study' scheduled for 5pm this evening at the Brentwood Hotel in Kilbirnie, Wellington, and a lecture on new pain healing discoveries at the Newtown Community Centre, Wellington this Friday.

The Commission has received information that the study is being run by Darrell Stoddard of US-based company, Smart Inventions Inc. The US Federal Trade Commission has recently launched court proceedings against the company and its principals, including Mr Stoddard, for allegedly making false or unsubstantiated claims that its 'Biotape' product can treat or cure severe pain.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said the Commission was concerned that the public were made aware of the proceedings in the United States before making any decisions about participating in the study.

"The Commission became concerned about claims made in a recent advertisement in the Dominion Post newspaper, inviting volunteers with 'severe chronic knee pain' to take part in a 'double blind placebo controlled study of a breakthrough, long lasting new treatment for pain'," Ms Battell said.

"The advertising attracted the Commission's attention because of claims that, after the treatment, people 'may have no need for pain medication'. In addition, trials of this nature usually identify the research institution involved, whereas in this case there was no such mention," Ms Battell said.

In June this year, the Federal Trade Commission launched court proceedings alleging that Smart Inventions, a California-based direct response TV company, made false and unsubstantiated claims in an infomercial that its Biotape product can treat or cure severe pain and alleging that the defendants falsely claimed Biotape is superior to commonly available over-the-counter analgesics and topical creams and ointments in treating pain.

Darrell Stoddard, who developed Biotape and is featured in the infomercial along with the infomercial host Kevin Trudeau and the company's chief operating officer, Jon D Nokes, are also named as defendants.

The infomercial sold Biotape in conjunction with Stoddard's book, 'Pain Free for Life'. A sheet of 10 adhesive Biotape strips costs approximately $10US. Biotape was purported to contain a 'space age conductive mylar that connects the broken circuits that cause the pain'.

Ms Battell said the Commission was undertaking further inquiries into the advertising.

"Our first priority, however, is to ensure the public is made aware of the Commission's concerns and the legal action undertaken in the United States," she said.


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