HEALTH

ERSP determines Swiss Labs reliable support for dietary supplement claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program on Thursday determined that Swiss Labs provided reliable support for certain claims around the company’s Arthri-Zen Relief dietary supplement, but recommended the marketer modify certain claims.

ERSP examined claims in broadcast and online advertising that included:

  • “Imagine 24-HOUR JOINT RELIEF!”;
  • “Arthri-Zen eases: joint discomfort; muscle and tissue aches; sleepless nights; stiffness and swelling”;
  • “Arthri-Zen Relief is clinically proven effective in the relief of joint and muscle discomfort.”;
  • “…And natural products like Glucosamine and Chondroitin just don’t work.”; and
  • “With its unique delivery system Arthri-Zen Relief works quickly and effectively. You’ll feel a difference immediately.”

Following its review, ERSP determined that the marketer’s clinical study provided adequate support for the marketer’s claims that the product could reduce joint and muscle discomfort when used as directed. However, given that a single study was performed, ERSP recommended that the marketer discontinue any reference to “clinical studies.”

ERSP noted in its decision that the marketer’s study indicated that 53% of the trial subjects who received the Arthri-Zen formulation experienced significantly less pain by the fourth day of the trial. ERSP noted that relief following four days of treatment is not consistent with consumers’ expectations of a product that advertises “immediate” relief. The marketer asserted that it would modify the claim, “immediate relief.”

ERSP further noted that that the marketer’s “24-HOUR JOINT RELIEF” claim could be interpreted by consumers as a reference to a systematic release of the product’s primary ingredients throughout the day. ERSP recommended that the marketer modify the context of the claim to clarify for consumers its intended message that users of the product can experience relief for up to 24 hours in between dosages.

Further, ERSP determined that, based upon the evidence presented by Swiss Labs it is inaccurate to categorically conclude that glucosamine and chondroitin provide no therapeutic benefits and noted that the advertiser has asserted it will voluntarily discontinue comparative claims involving glucosamine and chondroitin. ERSP recommended the marketer not disseminate the same or similar claims in future advertising for Arthri-Zen Relief.

“While we believe that all of our advertising is fully substantiated, we have decided to accept ERSP’s recommendations in its entirety and will make the minor recommended modifications to our advertising,” Swiss Labs stated. “Swiss Labs appreciates the insight and expertise provided by this process and will take this guidance into consideration in future advertising.”

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Twinlab announces its 2009 Mobile Beach Bash Celebration

BY Anna Mcgrath

GALVESTON, Texas Twinlab is kicking off its 2009 Mobile Beach Bash Celebration July 11.

The celebration will coincide with the company’s rateyourabs.com contest for a chance to win a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The 10-stop beach tour will begin in Galveston, Texas and continue along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to celebrate this summer’s best beach abs.

The event will feature music, models and plenty of product sales, including Twinlab’s ultimate six-pack helper, Ripped Fuel 5x.

“Twinlab’s Ripped Fuel products are all about helping people get the lean, defined bodies they’ve always wanted, and there’s no better place to show off their success than the beach,” said Marc Stover, director of marketing, ISI Brands/Twinlab. “We ran a similar contest last year with enormous success. This year, we upped the ante and decided to take the party to some of the hottest beaches in the country to find that perfect six-pack.”

Contest entry forms and camera will also be on hand for those wishing to enter. Voting will take place at www.rateyourabs.com through September 13.

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NCPA announces new FSA service

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Community Pharmacists Association on Wednesday announced a new service — the FSAok AutoCopay — that enables community pharmacies to continue serving patients who use flexible spending account debit cards within new IRS regulations.

As of July 1, those regulations precluded customers from using their FSA debit card at drug store retailers that had not secured an Inventory Information Approval System, a point-of-sale system that’s able to identify eligible health care FSA purchases by comparing the purchased items’ UPC or SKU number against a pre-established list of eligible items; keep a separate total for the eligible items; and charge the FSA card only for the eligible items total, and request another form of payment for any remaining items.

“We were pleased late last year when, after meeting with NCPA, the Internal Revenue Service extended the deadline [for the new requirement] from January 1 to July 1, 2009,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “During that time, NCPA responded to the needs of our members by collaborating with Finpago’s FSAok AutoCopay service to offer a low-cost solution requiring no special software or POS system so that they can continue to serve their patients’ with FSA accounts with an automated copayment claims service and real time substantiation of eligible over-the counter transactions.”

For pharmacies without point of sale systems, AutoCopay makes it possible to accept payment from patients who use FSA debit cards in accordance to IRS regulations.

“The average pharmacy sells more than $60,000 per year to customers with flexible spending account debit cards,” stated Finpago CEO Fred Hawkins.

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