Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

AAO: Reports Congressmen Write Letter to the FDA and FTC Regarding SmileDirectClub, While California Board of Dentistry Moves to Dismiss SmileDirectClub's Lawsuit


American Association of Orthodontists issued the following announcement on Jan. 28.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) - in the interests of the health, safety, and well-being of patients seeking orthodontic care - reports that on January 6, nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives authored a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) "to express [their] concern regarding SmileDirectClub." Additionally, the Congressmen expressed their "strong support of the FDA and FTC investigating the practices of SmileDirectClub to ensure that it is not misleading consumers or causing patient harm." The signing members all have healthcare backgrounds - five dentists, three medical doctors, and one pharmacist.  The full letter can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, on December 23, 2019, the California Board of Dentistry ("Board") filed a motion to dismiss the claims brought against it by SmileDirectClub and Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer (SmileDirectClub's Chief Clinical Officer) in the federal court for the Central District of California. The claims arise out of an investigation by the Board into SmileDirectClub and Dr. Sulitzer in California, which resulted in an Accusation (formal complaint) filed by the Board against Dr. Sulitzer in November 2019. The Board alleges that Dr. Sulitzer, in overseeing SDC "SmileShops" in California, reportedly committed violations of California's dental laws, apparently including, but not limited to, use of fraud in the procurement of fictitious name and additional office permits, use of advertisement tending to deceive or mislead the public, treatment of patients not of record, and aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of dentistry.  A copy of the Motion to Dismiss can be viewed here, and copies of the two Exhibits filed in support of the Motion can be viewed here and here.

SmileDirectClub now has over 1,740 "Customer Complaints" on the Better Business Bureau's website.  See https://www.bbb.org/us/tn/nashville/profile/cosmetic-dentistry/smiledirectclub-0573-37111672.  

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) believes that orthodontic treatment is a complex medical process and that it is in the best, and safest, interest of the public to have that treatment conducted under the direct and ongoing supervision of a licensed orthodontist. To access the AAO's Consumer Alert – "Questions to Consider When Researching Direct-To-Consumer Orthodontic Companies" – you may visit https://www.aaoinfo.org/_/online-orthodontic-companies/.

When it comes to dental issues, individuals and patients can choose to contact their state, territory, or provincial dental boards or authorities (https://www.aaoinfo.org/aao/state-dental-board-info), their state Attorney General's consumer protection office (https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer) or provincial consumer affairs office (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02982.html), regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") – (https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/contact-fda), and their elected officials (e.g. Governor, state representative, etc.) about such issues.

Original source can be found here.

Organizations in this Story

American Association of Orthodontists

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