AT-HOME HIV TESTS: FTC Cracks Down on Another Internet Supplier
The Federal Trade Commission has charged David Rothbart with falsely stating that his home HIV tests accurately detect the virus, the Orlando Business Journal reports. Rothbart had been selling the faulty kits out of his Florida home over the Internet under the business name of Medimax Inc. When tested with HIV-positive blood, nine out of 10 of Rothbart's kits returned a false negative result, the FTC found. The tenth test did not work at all. Although Rothbart has agreed to comply with the FTC, the $5,000 he made selling the tests remains frozen, and will be returned to the buyers if the FTC wins its case. Rothbart's attorney, Harlan Paul, said his client only sold the kits outside the U.S., and that those kits were only for research purposes. The sales were "appropriate," Paul said, as Rothbart's "manufacturer and supplier had FDA approval to sell the kits out of the country." According to the FTC, the FDA has only approved one home HIV test kit in the country -- the Home Access HIV Test Kit. Rothbart's is not the first home HIV test kit to be targeted by the federal government: Two months ago, the FTC settled charges against Cyberlinx Marketing Inc., which also made a faulty test kit and sold it on the Internet. Jodie Bernstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, "The commission is committed to pursuing Internet marketers of faulty HIV tests. One can scarcely imagine a more pernicious and harmful form of deception" (Lundine, Orlando Business Journal, 1/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.