Cancer Treatment Centers of America and two affiliated hospitals have signed a consent agreement to settle false-advertising allegations brought by the Federal Trade Commission.
The Arlington Heights, Ill.-based company, along with Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Ill., and Memorial Medical Center and Cancer Institute in Tulsa, Okla., are required to substantiate future marketing claims. If they fail to do so, they could be fined up to $10,000 per violation.
In its complaint, the FTC alleged the company could not back up claims about treatments such as "whole body hyperthermia" and "brachytherapy," nor could it substantiate that its five-year survival rate ranked among the highest recorded for cancer patients (See graphic). Also, the FTC said patient testimonials used in ads did not reflect "typical and ordinary" experiences.
The claims appeared in ads and a promotional brochure that was distributed nationally, the FTC said. Some material dates back five years.
Cancer Treatment Centers and the hospitals admitted no wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement.
"We believe it is far too costly and time-consuming to continue to contend with the FTC," said Jeffrey Vigh, the company's senior vice president of marketing and sales.
The FTC voted 5-0 to approve the agreement, which will become effective after a 60-day public comment period.
Cancer Treatment Centers manages inpatient and outpatient cancer treatment programs at hospitals. The company says it combines traditional medical care with "support therapies such as nutrition, mind-body medicine, psychological and spiritual counseling."