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Judge ban electric shock device sold as a pain reliever

January 24, 1997

CLEVELAND (AP) _ They call it The Stimulator, a 3-inch long electric shock device touted on TV by stunt man Evel Knievel and actress Lee Merriweather as a pain reliever for everything from arthritis to menstrual cramps.

But federal prosecutors say The Stimulator was never proven effective, never approved by the Food and Drug Administration and looks more like a campfire stove igniter.

On Thursday they convinced a federal court judge to ban its sale.

U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver also ordered the distributors, _ the father-and-son team of Paul M. and Paul A. Monea _ to destroy their stock unless they get the device approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

It was the second time federal authorities have sought to get the $79.95 device off the market.

The FDA destroyed 16,000 Stimulators it seized in a raid two years ago. The U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland went back to court in December 1995 after the FDA learned that Stimulators still were being marketed.

Edwin Davila, an attorney for the distributors, continued to insist Friday that the device is safe, effective and similar to products sold more than 10 years ago. It should not require FDA approval, said Davila, who vowed to fight in court to get it back on the market.

The Stimulator is supposed to cure pain when the user places its tip on the affected area and presses a plunger to release an electric current.

No figures were available on how many have been sold and the Moneas didn’t want to comment Friday, Davila said.

Davila said it was wrong to characterize The Stimulator as a fire starter.

``That’s as accurate as saying that an acupuncture needle is the same as a crochet needle,″ he said.

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