Bayer discontinues "complete relief" claims for Alka-Seltzer remedy

NEW YORK — Bayer Healthcare last week reported it has discontinued certain advertising claims made in broadcast advertising for Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Congestion and Cough, a sinus medication, following a challenge made by Procter & Gamble to the National Advertising Division, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation.

The express and implied claims at issue included: 

  • “Complete relief of your worst sinus symptoms;”
  • “I took something for my sinuses, but I still have this cough. Truth is a lot of sinus products don’t treat coughs . . . but Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus does. It treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough;”
  • “Try Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Day and Night for complete relief from your worst sinus symptoms;” and
  • "Allka-Seltzer Plus Severe Sinus Congestion and Cough will entirely resolve all sinus symptoms."

After the challenge was filed, Bayer informed NAD that although it was confident it could substantiate the challenged claims, it had decided to permanently discontinue the use of the phrase “complete relief” in all advertising for the product.

NAD noted its appreciation for the advertiser’s voluntary action, the agency stated.

In reliance on the advertiser’s written assurance that all of the challenged “complete relief” claims have been permanently discontinued, NAD determined that no further action was necessary.



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