The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently settled lawsuits with two companies that marketed melanoma detection apps — Mole Detective ($4.99) and MelApp ($1.99). Both companies are now prohibited from making health claims about these apps or any future ones — unless those claims are supported by “reliable scientific evidence” in the form of human clinical testing.
“Truth in advertising laws apply in the mobile marketplace,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.”
MelApp and Mole Detective were supposed to calculate a mole’s risk of being melanoma as low, medium or high — even in the early stages — based on photos taken with a smartphone and information provided by the user.
“App developers and marketers must have scientific evidence to support any health or disease claims that they make for their apps.”
In its lawsuits, the FTC said the companies did not have adequate evidence to support such claims and therefore were deceptively advertising their products.