18 Sep Apps are making health claims. But they may not have the science to back them up.
There’s an app for everything these days. Some smartphone apps claim to detect cancer, improve mental concentration, or even help you see better.
But not all may have science that backs up their claims.
On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission went after Carrot Neurotechnology, the maker of an app that promised to improve users’ vision.
“This case came down to the simple fact that ‘Ultimeyes’ promoters did not have the scientific evidence to support their claims that the app could improve users’ vision,” Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “Health-related apps can offer benefits to consumers, but the FTC will not hesitate to act when health-related claims are not based on sound science.”
Ultimeyes sells for between $5.99 and $9.99 on various online stores and includes a series of visual exercises it claimed could improve vision. The app brought in more than $350,000 in sales from January 2012 through June 2015, according to the FTC’s complaint.
But, the FTC alleged, the company didn’t have scientific research to support all of its claims. The agency also alleged Carrot failed to disclose that some of the research it used to bolster its assertions was produced by a co-owner of the company, University of California Riverside psychology professor Aaron Seitz, in marketing.