by Steve Gardner
The DC Circuit just issued its opinion in POM’s appeal of the FTC’s excellent order against POM for some of its marketing practices.
The opinion is 45 pages long, so let me provide the Court’s own summary of the opinion:
The FTC Act proscribes—and the First Amendment does not protect—deceptive and misleading advertisements. Here, we see no basis for setting aside the Commission’s conclusion that many of POM’s ads made misleading or false claims about POM products. Contrary to petitioners’ contentions, moreover, the Commission had no obligation to adhere to notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures before imposing liability in its adjudicatory proceeding. Additionally, we affirm the Commission’s remedial order insofar as it requires POM to gain the support of at least one randomized, controlled, human clinical trial study before claiming a causal relationship between consumption of POM products and the treatment or prevention of any disease. We find inadequate justification, however, for the Commission’s blanket requirement of at least two such studies as a precondition to any disease-related claim.
Public Citizen and CSPI filed an amicus brief in this case.