NAD refers Patent Health claims to FTC

Company declines to modify, discontinue claims as recommended by NAD, NARB

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday referred advertising for the dietary supplement Trigosamine Fast Acting (Trigo FA) to the Federal Trade Commission for further review following Patent Health’s failure to modify claims.

The referral follows an initial NAD decision, a ruling from the National Advertising Review Board and complaints from Nutramax Labs, which initially challenged Patent Health’s claims that appear in an advertorial — specifically, the sub-headline of a new Trigosamine advertorial claim: “Clinical trial: participants began to feel noticeable results in just days.”

In addition, the advertising included the claim that “81% of the participants started feeling better just days after taking the recommended dosage,” and “100% reported their joints felt better just midway through the [eight]-week clinical trial.”

This “fast-relief” message is compounded further by the name of the product itself, “Trigosamine Fast Acting.”

In its initial decision, the NAD found that the advertiser’s “speed” claims, based on a “six-minute walk test” during a single clinical study, were not supported by the results of that study. The NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue all claims based on the results of the six-minute walk test as measured at three days, discontinue using the term “rapid relief” and discontinue all claims that compared the performance of Trigo FA with glucosamine supplementation alone.

The NAD also addressed the advertorial format of advertising for Trigo FA and recommended the advertiser take additional steps to make it clear that what consumers were seeing was advertising, not news.

Patent Health had accepted portions of the NAD decision and stated it would discontinue claims that included speed-of-action claims, direct glucosamine comparison claims and claims that the product, when combined with glucosamine, “improves absorption of nutrients and works quickly to improve mobility and flexibility.” Patent Health, however, believed that its study supported a claim of results in as few as three days of beginning supplementation and sought the NARB’s review of this claim, as well as the NARB’s position on its advertorial, NAD reported. NARB upheld the NAD’s decision in both respects.

The NAD opened two compliance reviews of advertising for the product in August 2010 and again in January 2011, following complaints from the original challenger in the case.

Although the NAD noted that the advertiser implemented some of the changes recommended by both the NAD and NARB, recently published advertising contained many of the same claims, presented in the same advertorial format.

The current advertising, the NAD noted in its compliance decision, disregards “the spirit and the letter of both the NAD and NARB decisions. Accordingly, since the advertiser has not made a bona fide attempt to bring its advertising into compliance with the recommendations in the NAD or NARB decision, NAD [has] concluded that the self-regulatory process has been exhausted and is referring the matter to the FTC for possible enforcement action.”

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