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The Fair Trade Commission this week slapped down three firms for taking advantage of people desperate for a cure for snoring by hawking “snore-silencing nose clips” whose effectiveness are iffy at best.

The FTC determined the effects touted in their two products — one developed and marketed by Osaka-based health goods maker Pip-Fujimoto Co. and its subsidiary Pip-Tokyo Co., and another by Keytron Co. based in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture — are groundless, if not fraudulent.

The watchdog said it doesn’t see any science in the products and effectively urged the firms to issue a recall.

According to the FTC, the three companies started marketing the products, which sell for around ¥1,500, in October 2005 and sold some 250,000 packages worth a total of ¥380 million through the end of last year.

The products simply clip to the part of the nose between the two nostrils, which the companies claim stimulates the nose and fosters normal breathing while sleeping, thus reducing the irregular respiratory vibration that causes snoring.

An FTC official said some other products are available on the market that enlarge the nostrils, which at least has some scientific basis.

Regarding the nose clips in question, however, the three firms failed to submit any scientific evidence to support their claims.

“We wondered how the advertised effects could be achieved by simply attaching the clip to the nose,” the official said.

Pip-Fujimoto admitted it has been aware of the lack of science since the company, well-known for the Pip Elekiban magnetic patches to ease stiff muscles, started selling its first nose clip back in 1997.

The company said it continued selling them for the simple reason that the market response was good.

The Pip group said it is considering recalling the nose clips and refunding customers in line with the FTC’s decision, while Keytron only said it has changed the wording on its packaging.

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