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Consumer protection, personal finance and other New Mexico business

FTC knocks heads with maker of lice ‘prevention’ products

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What could possibly be worse than dealing with an infestation of head lice?

Finding out later that you paid top dollar for a product “scientifically shown” to prevent it in the first place.

LICE AD 05-28-14On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had reached a settlement with Lornamead Inc. — the maker of  Lice Shield shampoo, stick and spray products — over its exaggerated claims that it could prevent or reduce the likelihood of getting head lice “by over 80%.”

The products are carried by numerous national chains, including Albertsons, CVS, Safeway, Rite Aid, ShopRite, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.

Under the proposed consent agreement, the New York state company agreed to pay $500,000 in penalties and to refrain from making claims it can’t prove in the future.

“As any parent knows, an outbreak of lice can wreak havoc,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “When marketers say their products can be used to avoid these pests, they’d better make sure they can back up their claims.”

The FTC complaint said Lornamead couldn’t substantiate claims that its products would prevent infestations of head lice or reduce the risk during an outbreak. It also challenged the company’s statements that spraying its products onto hats, helmets and other headgear would lower the likelihood of getting lice.

The FTC is now seeking public comment on the consent agreement through June 27, at which point it will decide whether to make the settlement final.

The full news release can be found here. A supplemental article that contains tips on what can be done to protect yourself and your children from head lice is available here.

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