HEALTH

NAD recommends halt of Claritin ‘RediTabs’ broadcast ads

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday recommended that Schering-Plough, maker of the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin “RediTabs,” discontinue broadcast advertising that features high-speed raceway images.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined broadcast advertising for the product following a challenge by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of competing OTC allergy medications Benadryl and Zyrtec.

NAD considered whether the race car imagery and narration in the commercial imply that Claritin RediTabs OTC provides the fastest relief of allergy symptoms.

The challenged advertising features NASCAR racecars running a track as Carl Edwards, a well-known NASCAR driver, appears and explains that “speed is important” to him and that when his allergies hit, he uses Claritin RediTabs, “the fastest dissolving allergy medicine.”  A statement that “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” appears simultaneously on the screen.

Following its review of the evidence, including a consumer perception survey provided by the challenger, NAD determined one reasonable takeaway from the commercial is that RediTabs provides very fast or instantaneous relief of allergy symptoms in comparison to competing allergy medicines. Further, NAD determined that the disclosure “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” contradicted, rather than limited, the main message of very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.

NAD recommended that the commercial be permanently discontinued and that future advertising avoid imagery and claims that imply that Claritin RediTabs provide very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.

Schering-Plough, in its advertiser’s statement, said it that while the company did not intend to convey a claim of instant relief, it “greatly respects NAD and the NAD process and will take this decision into account in crafting its future advertisements.”

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New diabetes saliva-based diagnostic test in the works

BY Michael Johnsen

HOUSTON A new saliva-based test for the identification and diagnosis of diabetes is under development, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists announced Tuesday.

Research promoting a painless new method for detecting diabetes, utilizing saliva, will be presented May 15, at the AACE’s 18th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress in Houston.

While searching for biomarkers that may indicate diabetes, doctors examined the saliva of 40 patients. Through salivary analysis, they managed to devise a new “non-invasive” method for detecting diabetes that foregoes the uncomfortable prick of a needle — patients need only to spit into a cup. The spit test could be performed for little cost in a doctor’s office or at a patient’s home.

“Our goal was to characterize proteins in human saliva that may indicate prediabetes and Type-2,” stated Srinivasa Nagalla, a member of the research team. “Analysis of these proteins allowed us to develop a new method for screening, detecting and monitoring the diabetic state.”

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CDC advises American travelers to delay, avoid trips to Mexico

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention on Monday advised American travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.

As of Monday, Mexico has reported 18 laboratory confirmed human cases of swine influenza A/H1N1 infection. Investigation is continuing to clarify the spread and severity of the disease in Mexico. Suspect clinical cases have been reported in 19 of the country’s 32 states. The World Health Organization, the Global Alert and Response Network and CDC have sent experts to Mexico to work with health authorities. CDC has confirmed that seven of 14 respiratory specimens sent to CDC by the Mexican National Influenza Center are positive for swine influenza virus and are similar to the swine influenza viruses recently identified in the United States.

On April 25, the WHO Director-General declared this event a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the rules of the International Health Regulations. CDC and state public and animal health authorities are currently investigating 20 cases of swine flu in humans in California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York City. Some of the U.S. cases have been linked to travel to Mexico.

At this time, only two of the 20 cases in the U.S. have been hospitalized and all have recovered, but deaths are reported to have occurred in Mexico. CDC is concerned that continued travel by U.S. travelers to Mexico presents a serious risk for further outbreaks of swine flu in the United States.

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