HEALTH

Online glucosamine/chondroitin provider advised to discontinue claims

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Friday recommended that online distributor Supple Beverages discontinue a wide range of advertising claims for its Supple liquid glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, including weight-loss claims and speed-of-action claims.

In addition, Supple Beverages charged that the mainstream glucosamine/chondroitin products are “fake, low quality, [have] ineffective dosages, [do] not have in [them] what is claimed on the label or [come] from unproven sources.” Supple sourced the National Institutes of Health article published “recently” in the New England Journal of Medicine, and added that the “information has been suppressed. This is the largest billion-dollar American fraud of our generation.”

The NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its inaccurate claims disparaging glucosamine and chondroitin products in general. In addition, the NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim that “the active agents in Supple are prescribed by medical doctors as a first-line standard of care for joint suffering relief all around the world,” to clarify that the “active agents” referred to are glucosamine and chondroitin, and further, that the medical doctors prescribing them are in “other countries,” as these supplements are not sold by prescription in the United States.

Further, the NAD recommended that the advertiser take care to avoid conveying a message that the ingredients in Supple are approved by the Food and Drug Administration at pharmaceutical or prescription strength. The claim that “our chondroitin comes from the only company in the world that can make a pharmaceutical grade chondroitin” still is on the company’s site.

The NAD found that the comparative claim, “Supple uses the highest strength of glucosamine and chondroitin that is highly regulated and sold as natural joint rebuilding agents in over 40 countries,” similarly was unsupported, and the agency recommended that the claim be discontinued.

According to the NAD, Supple represented that it permanently has discontinued many of the challenged claims, though on Monday many of those claims still were accessible at SuppleBodies.com/cause.php, including the inaccurate claim that “no federal agency is checking to make sure that what is stated on a label is in a product.”

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Steve Gootzeit joins W.F. Young

BY Allison Cerra

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. — The international marketer behind Absorbine and Absorbine Jr. has appointed a new director of marketing.

Steve Gootzeit, who brings 30 years of experience in marketing and product development to W. F. Young, will be responsible for all aspects of marketing within the company — which markets consumer healthcare products and animal healthcare products — including strategic and brand planning, advertising and managing daily marketing functions within the department.

Gootzeit most recently worked at Coty and also previously worked at Del Labs and Wyeth.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to have Steve Gootzeit, a dynamic and seasoned professional, join us at W. F. Young in this newly created position as we continue our aggressive growth plan and global expansion of Absorbine Jr. and Absorbine products,” W.F. Young president Adam Raczkowski said.

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J&J delays relaunch of recalled products

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday postponed its plans to begin folding many of its recalled products, including several pediatric formulations, back onto retail shelves until later this fall.

However, when those products are ready to occupy the brand blocks McNeil has carved out for Tylenol and others, J&J will be placing a significant emphasis on reacquainting those products with quality in the consumer’s mind.

“At the appropriate time, we will be investing in market support for our over-the-counter brands, such as Tylenol, Motrin and many others,” J&J chairman and CEO William Weldon told investors. “And we will be introducing product and packaging innovations for many products, especially for those for young children.”

U.S. sales across J&J’s OTC pharmaceuticals and nutritionals dropped 52.8% over the fourth quarter. The McNeil recalls impacted fourth-quarter sales by approximately $300 million and total-year sales by approximately $900 million, the company reported.

Production of J&J’s children’s liquid OTC brands and adult tablet brands manufactured at the Fort Washington, Pa., facility is not expected to resume historical levels until the latter half of 2011. “This is due to a decision to upgrade manufacturing and quality processes … as part of our comprehensive action plan,” Louise Mehrotra, VP investor relations at J&J, told analysts.

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