HEALTH

NAD to Bell Lifestyle: Discontinue ad claims for dietary supplement

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Thursday recommended that Bell Lifestyle Products discontinue certain claims for its dietary supplement Bell Shark Cartilage #1.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, reviewed advertising claims for the product following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Claims at stake included that the product addressed osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, neck and back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, Bell Lifestyle promised users they would be “pain free in two weeks” and that its dietary supplement product was cheaper and more efficacious than prescription remedies.

“Synthetic drugs for rheumatoid arthritis may run to $10,000 a year (we have documented cases) and may not be as effective as Bell Shark Cartilage #1, and may as well  have severe side effects that have to be treated additionally with different synthetic drugs. Bell Shark Cartilage #1 costs less than $100 and has virtually no side effects,” the company claimed in its advertising.

Bell Lifestyle reported to NAD that its product contains significant concentrations of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, and that the company relied on scientific research to establish the presence and availability of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in shark cartilage and substantiate the health benefits to consumers from taking those ingredients in a dietary supplement. However, according to regulations passed under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, manufacturers may not make any disease-state claims, including pain relief, with regard to any dietary supplement, including glucosamine and chondroitin.

At the outset of the NAD’s investigation, Bell Lifestyle asserted that it had discontinued certain claims, including all claims and testimonials referencing treatment of a specific disease, claims comparing the relative efficacy of Bell Shark Cartilage #1 with synthetic drugs, the performance claims referencing the absolute number of users helped by Bell Shark Cartilage #1, claims that reference a specific percentage efficacy and testimonials referencing alleviation of serious rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and the statements of the consumers who wrote that they avoided surgery after using Bell Shark Cartilage #1.

Following its review, the NAD determined that it was not clear how much glucosamine is contained in the advertiser’s product. The NAD noted that the advertiser acknowledged that it had not tested and established the amount of glucosamine in its shark cartilage product and noted, as well, the advertiser’s assertion that “Bell Lifestyle is currently undertaking a chemical analysis of Bell Shark Cartilage to verify the presence of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in the concentrations found in chemical analyses by others.” The NAD concluded that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support joint health claims for the product and recommended that the claims be discontinued.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it “accepts the NAD’s decision and, pending verification of the product contents, will discontinue its joint health benefit claims, including performance claims referencing treatment of disease and efficacy of the product in absolute terms and in comparison to medical treatments.”

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Symposium addresses sexual dysfunction among women

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Sexual dysfunction often is conceived as a male phenomenon, but it frequently affects women as well, and for a wide variety of reasons.

 

Such disease states as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and thyroid disease; drugs ranging from NSAID painkillers to narcotics to psychiatric medications; and even such conditions as stress and ADHD can all contribute to sexual dysfunction in women. But female sexual dysfunction often goes unmentioned, even though it may affect up to 50% of women, according to a 2003 Austrian study published in the journal Urology. Yet according to Semprae Labs, 90% of the women affected by female sexual dysfunction are reluctant to talk about it.

 

 

“We seem to be very uncomfortable,” Mary Jaensch, CEO of Semprae, said at a symposium for members of the press Thursday morning. The symposium, at New York’s Penn Club, was to promote Zestra essential arousal oils, an over-the-counter topical botanical product designed to stimulate sexual arousal in women. The symposium included such experts as Susan Kellogg, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Philadelphia, and relationship experts Tamsen Fadal and Matt Titus.

 

 

“All women deserve sexual satisfaction,” Kellogg said at the symposium.

 

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NYT article: FSA changes shed light on old eligibility problems

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A New York Times report published Tuesday illustrated exactly how far apart the rubber is from the road when it comes to incentivizing preventive healthcare practices and the implementation of the new rules associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Even as common over-the-counter remedies soon will require a prescription in order to be eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending account arrangements, tried and true preventive healthcare practices, such as breast-feeding, are not and in fact have never been considered eligible for FSA reimbursement, the report noted. “With all the changes the healthcare overhaul will bring in the coming years, it nonetheless will leave those regulations intact when new rules for flexible spending accounts go into effect in January,” the report read.

Breast pumps are not considered eligible FSA expenditures despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics made a direct appeal to the Internal Revenue Service to define such products as breast pumps as a device used for medical care. In May 2009, the IRS determined that breast pumps do not diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture of breast pumps as medical devices, and there are numerous studies that establish the preventive health benefits for children consuming their mother’s breast milk.

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