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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Rite Aid posts same-store sales decline

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Thursday posted a same-store sales decrease of 1.7% for the four weeks ended Oct. 23, representing a front-end comparable sales decline of 1.3% and a 1.8% drop in same-store pharmacy sales.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 1.9% over the prior-year period.

Both front-end and pharmacy same-store sales were negatively impacted by a significantly weaker cough, cold and flu season compared with the same period last year, when news of an H1N1 pandemic was dominating the airwaves.

Total drug store sales for the four-week period decreased 2.7% to $1.9 billion. Prescription revenue accounted for 68.5% of drug store sales, and third-party prescription revenue represented 96.2% of pharmacy sales.

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GSK Consumer Healthcare applauds FDA’s workshop on NRT products

BY Michael Johnsen

PARSIPPANY, N.J. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Thursday commended the Food and Drug Administration for holding a scientific workshop this week that focused on the risks and benefits associated with the long-term use of nicotine-replacement therapy products.

 

GSK, the manufacturer of smoking-cessation products NicoDerm and Nicorette, suggested the workshop is a first step in supporting language in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which called upon the FDA to "consider approving the extended use of nicotine-replacement products — such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenge — for the treatment of tobacco dependence."

 

 

As a result of the FDA’s review of long-term use, GSK has submitted a statement into the FDA public docket on its position regarding the long-term use of NRT. GSK believes that using NRT products to quit smoking is far safer than continuing to smoke. NRT products offer a step-down therapy that doubles a smoker’s chances of quitting versus attempting to quit smoking “cold turkey.” Additionally, several other countries already encourage the use of NRT products for longer durations to keep people tobacco-free.

 

 

Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. More than 46 million Americans smoke. Research indicated about 70% of smokers want to quit at any given time, but the success rates remain suboptimal. Tobacco use causes more than 400,000 deaths in the United States each year, and approximately 8.6 million Americans have chronic illnesses related to smoking.

 

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