HEALTH

NAD scrutinizes Millenium Health’s cancer benefits claim for dietary supplement

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Millennium Health discontinue Internet advertising claims that state or suggest that Ellagic Acid 1000, a dietary supplement, treats or cures cancer.

The NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue using the inaccurate descriptors “antimicrobial” and “anticarcinogenic” to describe the product, and that the advertiser discontinue the “Cancer Prevention,” “What is Cancer?” and American Cancer Society links on its website.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory program, reviewed claims for the product following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Making disease-state claims, such as proposing a supplement may treat or cure cancer or provide anticancer benefits, also violates Food and Drug Administration statutes. According to the FDA website, “a product sold as a dietary supplement and promoted on its label or in labeling as a treatment, prevention or cure for a specific disease or condition would be considered an unapproved — and thus illegal — drug. To maintain the product’s status as a dietary supplement, the label and labeling must be consistent with the provisions in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.”

In its initial response to the NAD’s inquiry, Millennium Health represented that it had carried out an extensive revision of its website, Ellagic.net, and that it had removed all of the challenged claims. Notwithstanding, the advertiser cited research on Ellagic Acid that it maintained supported the general claims that Ellagic Acid is a powerful, unique antioxidant that provides certain anticancer benefits.

Specifically, Millennium Health cited a list of studies on Ellagic Acid contained in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as several National Institute of Health links, as evidence supporting the anticancer benefits of Ellagic Acid.

Following its review of the advertiser’s evidence, the NAD noted that the cited studies were either conducted on animals or in laboratories, and were insufficient to support the types of “cancer” claims being made by the advertiser. The NAD stated that it found the “cancer prevention and treatment claims to be extremely troublesome, in light of the fact that there was no evidence that this product has been studied for its cancer prevention/cure benefits in humans.” Further, such claims “are dangerous in that they may cause consumers who purchase these products in reliance on such claims to forgo medical treatment.”

“We accept NAD’s decision in its entirety, which is fair and accurate,” responded Millennium Health in a statement addressed to the NAD.

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Nutritional, diagnostics sales give Abbott a boost

BY Michael Johnsen

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott on Wednesday posted a U.S. sales increase of 6.4% to $3.8 billion, including a 1.6% lift in domestic diagnostics sales and a 1.7% increase in U.S. nutritional sales.

In a conference call with analysts Wednesday morning, Abbott announced it would be relaunching its Ensure adult nutritional brand with the proprietary ingredient Revigor. Revigor (hydroxymethyl butyrate) is one of the key ingredients in the company’s Juven line, a nutrition line for recovering cancer patients. Along with arginine and glutamine, Juven helps slow protein breakdown and facilitate synthesis of collagen and other proteins involved in tissue repair. Ensure with Revigor will be designed “to help consumers maintain and rebuild lean body mass lost due to aging, illness, injury or surgery.”

Company officials projected nutritional growth in the upper single-digits going forward.

With regard to its diagnostics division, Abbott Diabetes Care last month announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its new FreeStyle blood glucose test strips. The new FreeStyle test strips minimize interference during blood glucose testing and are designed to offer a better testing experience, the company stated. Abbott is preparing to launch those new strips nationwide in the coming weeks.

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Reckitt Benckiser seeks to expand business with SSL bid

BY Michael Johnsen

SLOUGH, England Reckitt Benckiser on Wednesday announced its bid for SSL International, parent company of Durex, in a cash deal valued at $3.9 billion.

The acquisition of SSL provides Reckitt Benckiser with an attractive opportunity to increase its presence in the health and personal care sector, the company stated in a 39-page document outlining the proposed offer.

“The acquisition of SSL will provide a step change to Reckitt Benckiser’s global health and personal care business, which has been a key driver of Reckitt Benckiser’s net revenue growth and profit progression,” stated Bart Becht, Reckitt CEO. “It is anticipated that the acquisition will increase Reckitt Benckiser’s health and personal care net revenues by [more than] 36% to approximately [$4.3 billion, representing] one-third of the group’s total net revenues.”

The acquisition will add two new “power brands” to the Reckitt arsenal, Becht said, including Durex in intimacy health and Scholl in foot care. “We believe that we could drive further growth in the acquired business, especially Durex and Scholl, by investing in SSL and Reckitt Benckiser’s proven innovation and brand-building capabilities, and by taking advantage of our greater distribution strength,” Becht added.

The Dr. Scholl brand name currently is licensed to Merck Consumer Care in the U.S. market.

The SSL board intends to recommend unanimously that SSL shareholders accept the offer.

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