People who struggle with chronic pain or pain caused by a personal injury often struggle to regain their health and their lifestyle. When you are forced to live with daily pain, it is easy to become depressed and frustrated. Many people conduct an exhausting search for a way to reduce and manage their pain. When you are hurt, you are vulnerable. Unfortunately, drug makers and other manufacturers sometimes prey on this vulnerability.
Recently, athletic apparel company Tommie Copper came under fire by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for claiming its compression clothing could relieve certain ailments, such as arthritis.
Copper-Infused Clothing Settlement
According to an NBC News report, Tommie Copper sold around $87 million of copper-infused compression sleeves for the elbows, ankles, and wrists in just a three-year period. The company achieved substantial success between 2011 and 2014, gaining endorsements from talk show host, Montel Williams, and former NFL quarterback, Brett Favre.
The FTC investigated the company’s claims and found it did not have scientific proof that its products relieved pain caused by arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or other diseases. The agency also found the company in violation of consumer protection laws because it claimed its products could provide better pain relief than surgery or prescription medication. The parties stipulated to an $86.8 million judgment, which is partially suspended as long as Tommie Copper pays $1.35 million toward the judgment.
According to Truth in Advertising, Tommie Copper’s compression garments range in price from $29.95 to $59.50. By comparison, similar compression garments without copper infusion retail between $8.61 and $35.
Although copper has long been used to ward off bacteria and prevent mold from forming, there are no significant scientific studies showing it can actually relieve pain or inflammation. There are some anecdotal reports claiming copper-infused clothing has healing properties, however, most medical experts say studies of copper as a medical product have not survived “the rigor of first-rate medical investigation.”
There is a little more evidence to support the idea that compression clothing can help with recovery after an injury. A researcher at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas performed a study of compression clothing and found that it helps reduce swelling as a post-exercise recovery measure. In terms of athletic performance, however, compression clothing made no difference in an individual’s results.