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Public Citizen asks FTC to investigate Life Line Screening’s ads for heart disease, osteoporosis tests

Heart images_260Public Citizen is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the marketing of Life Line Screening, a national cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis screening company.

The company’s advertising makes unproven claims about the medical benefits of its screening package and omits information about the health and financial risks from them, Public Citizen, a citizen advocacy group, said in a letter to the FTC.

The company’s website and mailings say it has “helped save thousands of lives” since 1993 and has prevented strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease.

These statements are misleading because Life Line Screening doesn’t have evidence from clinical tests proving that the screening tests save lives and prevent strokes and cardiovascular, Public Citizen said.

Life Line Screening’s advertising also omits information such as who certain screening tests are appropriate, guidelines for if and when tests should be performed, and the risks of adverse health-related outcomes and financial harms that can result from false-positive test results and from overdiagnosis.

“The FTC Act prohibits advertisements that contain false or misleading representations or material omissions,” said Michael Carome, M.D., director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

“Hospitals and other health care institutions that promote Life Line Screening’s cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis screening package do a great disservice to the communities that they serve and to public health more broadly,” said Carome. “We hope that not only will hospitals sever their relationships in the near future but that the FTC will recognize the damage this company is doing and investigate immediately.”

Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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