Following on from our piece on the action taken by the FTC against two melanoma apps, it has been drawn to this editor’s attention that Mole Detective is still available, for £3.14/download, on the Google Play Store.
The relevant section of the FTC press release says:
Mole Detective Settlement and Lawsuit. Kristi Kimball and her company, New Consumer Solutions LLC, developed and first marketed Mole Detective in January 2012. U.K.-based Avrom “Avi” Lasarow and his company, L Health Ltd., took over marketing the app in August 2012. The marketers advertised the app primarily online, where it has sold in the Apple and Google app stores for as much as $4.99.
The settlement with Kimball and her company prohibits them from claiming that a device, such as an app, can detect or diagnose melanoma, unless the representation is truthful, not misleading, and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of human clinical testing of the device. It also prohibits them from making any other misleading or unsubstantiated health claims about a product or service, and requires them to disgorge $3,930.
The agency will pursue a litigated judgment against non-settling defendants Lasarow and his company.
Especially as the organisation marketing the app is UK-based, it will be interesting to see if any UK agency considers it appropriate to participate in that action or take any other action on the matter.
It’s worth noting that Apple no longer has the app available on iTunes, as pointed out by 9to5Google (which also confirms the app is still available in the US Play Store too). However if you Google Mole Detective, you do get an article which includes a link to iTunes. Clicking on that link when you have an iTunes registration, currently results in a headline “Item not available”. However it goes on to say: “The item you have requested is currently not available in the UK store but it is available in the US store. Click Change Store to view this item.” That article credits the supplier of the app as New Consumer Solutions LLC, the same company that supposedly has reached a settlement with the FTC.
Does all this one wonders, mean that the app will continue to be available outside the US? Does every country have to take separate action to ban an app? These are important issues which we will be discussing at the RSM medical apps event on 9th April, when among other excellent speakers, Julian Hitchcock of Lawford, Davies, Denoon, an expert in EU medical apps law, and Richard Brady, both a noted Edinburgh surgeon and a campaigner against ‘bad apps’, are presenting.
Hat tips to Isabel del Rio and Alex Wyke.