ERSP asks online supplier to tone down advertising on immune-system booster without substantiation

NEW YORK — The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program on Thursday recommended that Lonza America modify certain “clinically” proven claims for the company’s Alomune dietary supplement.

Specifically, ERSP recommended that the marketer modify the claim that, “A clinical trial on healthy adults suggested that people taking Alomune were 57% more likely to stay healthy on primary health measurements vs. placebo,” to more accurately describe the one study outcome measurement that served as the basis for the claim. And ERSP noted in its decision the omission of any reference on the marketer’s website to the source of the specific studies which Lonza relied on for its claims.

However, ERSP found that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for general performance claims, an exclusivity claim and claims made through an expert’s endorsement. Following its review of Lonza America’s evidence, ERSP concluded that Lonza America provided a reasonable basis for claims that use of the product will help keep the immune system “strong.”

Lonza explained that the active ingredient in Alomune is a proprietary form of larch tree arabinogalactan called ResistAid, introduced to the market on Oct. 1, 2012. 

“Lonza appreciates ERSP’s detailed review and its conclusions that Alomune is supported by valid scientific testing and other evidence demonstrating the benefits of Alomune," the company stated as part of its marketer's statement. "We will modify the Alomune website in accordance with ERSP’s recommendations, including adding a third party literature section to our website, posting clinical studies on Alomune and its active ingredient in that section, and providing references to relevant clinical data with our claims. We also will take the recommendations into account when designing future advertising communications.”

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.

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