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CRN, NAD extend partnership to review dietary supplement ads

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition and the National Advertising Review Council on Monday announced the extension of the dietary supplement advertising review program established in October 2006 for an additional five years.

“Responsible industries take actions that demonstrate their commitment to protecting their consumers, and this self-regulatory program says to all companies that this industry won’t sit back and let misleading advertising serve as a hallmark for which our industry is known,” stated CRN president and CEO Steve Mister. “In the three years this program has been in existence, it has gained momentum and widespread attention, becoming an example of responsibility for our industry,” he said. “This initiative reflects one of the CRN Foundation’s objectives — ‘to promote truthful and non-misleading advertising of dietary supplements to consumers through programs that encourage self-regulation of advertising by industry members.’”

“Misleading dietary supplement advertising negatively impacts trusting consumers and honest competitors alike,” said Andrea Levine, NAD director. “Left unchecked, misleading advertising will undermine the reputation of the entire industry,” she said. “With CRN’s support, we have demonstrated that self-regulation can play an active and visible role in combating misleading and unsubstantiated dietary supplement claims, but there is still significant work left to be done.”

Under the extension agreement, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus will receive $959,000 from the newly formed CRN Foundation.

The CRN/NAD initiative, which began in 2006, was developed to increase consumer confidence in the truth and accuracy of advertising claims for dietary supplement products, and to encourage fair competition within the industry. Through a series of multiyear grants from CRN, the initiative allowed NAD to hire an additional attorney who focused solely on the dietary supplement product category. The initiative has taken aim at substantive claims that are deceptive or misleading and clearly go beyond what’s supported by research and allowed by law — claims that feed the public’s distrust of the supplement industry. NAD reviews advertising that is national in scope, including print, broadcast, infomercials and Internet advertising. NAD opens cases following complaints from consumers, competitors and pursuant to its own monitoring.

At the 2008 NAD annual legal conference, Federal Trade Commission commissioner Thomas Rosch lauded the CRN/NAD initiative, calling it “… an excellent example of self-regulation that will increase monitoring of advertising for dietary supplements … [a program that] empowers supplement companies … by encouraging them to file a competitive [challenge] with NAD if they see a supplement ad that’s misleading, untruthful or includes claims that can’t be substantiated.”

Likewise, at The Conference: CRN’s Annual Symposium for the Dietary Supplement Industry in October 2009, FTC director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, David Vladeck noted, “There have always been and there will always be marketers who claim to cure whatever ails us,” but went on to applaud the extension of the CRN and NAD initiative and the importance of the self-regulatory program that is helping to clean up the industry.

The year before the monitoring initiative began, NAD opened fewer than 10 cases involving dietary supplement advertising. During the first three years of the program, with the increased resources provided by CRN, NAD opened more than 75 cases, with almost all resulting in voluntary compliance. CRN, which has no role in determining whether the claims reviewed by NAD are determined to be truthful and accurate, submitted 12 cases to NAD through competitive challenges; other cases came from competitors or through monitoring activities of the NAD itself. In cases where the advertiser has declined to participate or declined to abide by the terms of an NAD decision, the advertising at issue has been referred to the Food and Drug Administration and the FTC.

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FDA approves rare skin cancer treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug for treating a skin cancer that affects fewer than 20,000 people in the United States.

Gloucester Pharmaceuticals announced the FDA’s approval of Istodax (romidepsin) for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma also known as CTCL, in patients who have received at least one prior systemic therapy. The cancer affects between 16,000 and 20,000 people in the United States and is most common among men ages 50 years and older, according to the Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation.

“CTCL is a devastating cancer in which many patients suffer from disfiguring tumors, horribly itchy and infected skin and, in advanced stages, lesions in other organs,” Stanford Cancer Center professor and Istodax clinical trial investigator Youn Kim stated. “Current systemic therapies have proved inadequate, and patients with CTCL desperately need treatment options that can offer sustained relief from their disease so they can live fuller lives.”

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Price Chopper opens new Mass.-based store

BY Alaric DeArment

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. Northeastern supermarket chain Price Chopper has opened a new store in Shrewsbury, Mass., the company said.

The 64,000-sq.-ft. store incorporates numerous environmentally friendly features and was designed to win silver-level certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Features include skylights, freezers and cases lit with LED lightbulbs and a composting system for unused, produce, meat, seafood and deli products.

“We are so pleased to offer a brand new, state-of-the-art supermarket here in Shrewsbury that contains many of our signature products and services,” Price Chopper CEO and chairman Neil Golub said. “We look forward to providing Price Chopper quality, value and customer service to all those who enter our doors and relish the opportunity to continue supporting local projects and events that nourish the community around us.”

The store also includes a full-service pharmacy offering the chain’s 30-day and 90-day generic discount programs and the Diabetes AdvantEdge disease management program.

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