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Attorney General Hardy Myers Files Agreement With a Portland Alternative Health Products Company For Selling Bogus Bioterrorism Product on the Internet

February 27, 2002

Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed an agreement against a Portland alternative health products company as part of a coordinated effort with the Federal Trade Commission to combat the sale of bogus bioterrorism products.

Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed in Washington County Circuit Court and in a FTC consent agreement is Kris A. Pletschke of Portland, who does business as Raw Health. Neither agreement admits violation of law. As part of the state's action, Pletschke is required to comply with the federal agreement.

Pletschke sells "whole food and Detox products" from his Internet web site www.rawhealth.net. Among other things, he sells colloidal silver, claiming it is effective against 650 diseases and physical ailments, including anthrax.

"Since September 11, consumers' concerns about bioterrorism have increased greatly. Unfortunately, we've also seen an increase in fraudulent businesses taking advantage of those concerns by using misleading advertising to market bioterrorism-related products," Myers said. "Responsive broad enforcement taken by state and federal consumer protection agencies have proven to be the most effective way to stop this type of activity."

The Oregon Department of Justice initially identified Pletschke as a marketer of products to fight bioterrorism during the state's participation in the FTC-sponsored Internet "surf." The "surf" was a coordinated effort to combat bogus bioterrorism-related products with participants including the FTC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 30 attorneys general and the California Department of Health Services. As a result of the "surf," the FTC sent 121 warning letters to marketers of these products, of which 62 percent have eliminated the misleading claims. Pletschke also was sent warning letters by the FTC and the FDA but appeared to ignore them.

Under the two agreements, Pletschke is prohibited from misrepresenting the effects of using colloidal silver and he must notify all consumers who purchased the product of the federal and state actions, offer them full refunds and make the refunds within 90 days of the request. Neither agency knows of any beneficial use for colloidal silver. It is not a recognized cure for anthrax and can be toxic if used in large amounts. Finally, the respondent must provide both the Oregon Attorney General and the FTC with information regarding distributors as well as compliance reports.

Pletschke paid the Oregon Department of Justice $1,000 for its consumer protection and education fund.

Consumers wanting more information about bogus bioterrorism-related products and the Raw Health agreement may contact the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. FTC information is available by calling 1-877-382-4357. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us and the FTC is online at www.ftc.gov.

Contact:

Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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