The Helsinki Formula was a fake baldness cure sold via one
of the world's first infomercials. The commercials for the substance began
airing in 1985 under the title "Discover with Robert Vaughan". The
commercials featured the testimony of the poetically named Doctor Ritua Ilona
Schreck-Purola, ostensibly a pathologist at the
The infomercials ran until 1990, when the company selling the product, the Pantron I Corporation, was sued by the FTC. In 1996, a judge ruled the Pantron I Corporation was making false and misleading claims. There was no credible evidence the Helsinki Formula stopped or reversed hair loss. The Pantron I Corporation was ordered to pay a settlement of $27 million.
Actor Robert Vaughan managed to sell $101 million worth of the ersatz substance (at $50 a bottle) during the infomercial's run.
-- Karl Mamer