NAD rules on advertising claims for Osteo Bi-Flex

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Tuesday determined that Rexall Sundown has provided adequate substantiation for certain advertising claims made for its Osteo Bi-Flex Dietary Supplement, which contains glucosamine and chondroitin. NAD further recommended the company modify certain other claims but NBTY, which owns the Rexall brand, has stated it intends to appeal those findings to the National Advertising Review Board.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, requested substantiation for product description, exclusivity and "doctor-recommended" claims made in Internet advertising and on product packaging. Claims at issue included:

  • "No. 1 Doctor Recommended Brand,"

  • "Clinically Tested,"

  • "Osteo Bi-Flex is the only brand to feature the revolutionary formulation of ingredients in Joint Shield, which work to guard against the action of enzymes that affect joint health,"

  • "Osteo Bi-Flex utilizes the HCL form of glucosamine. It provides more pure glucosamine as compared to glucosamine sulfate – 1.4 times more to be exact!"

  • and, "The key ingredient Joint Shield is a potent extract of Boswellia serrata called 5-LOXIN, which is 10 times more concentrated than the typical Boswellic extracts. The 5-LOXIN in Joint Shield helps with joint flare ups and Boswellia extracts have also been shown to significantly improve, knee comfort, knee mobility and increase walking distance."

Following its review of the evidence, which included data produced by the National Disease and Therapeutic Index, NAD determined that the advertiser’s "No. 1 Doctor Recommended Brand" claim was substantiated. However, NAD that the advertiser modify its web site to avoid conveying an implied message regarding any specific reason for its "No. 1 Doctor Recommended Brand" status.

NAD further recommended that the advertiser modify the claim "No. 1 Doctor Recommended Joint Care Brand" to more narrowly and accurately reflect the findings of the NDTI survey—specifically that it is based on the NDTI report among physicians who recommended a glucosamine/ chondroitin or glucosamine supplement.

NAD determined that a reasonable basis also existed for the advertiser’s "clinically tested" claims with respect to the therapeutic effects of glucosamine and chondroitin, but recommended that the advertiser discontinue use of this claim in conjunction with its Good Manufacturing Practices. NAD further concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claim that "Osteo Bi-Flex is the only brand to feature the revolutionary formulation of ingredients in Joint Shield, which work to guard against the action of enzymes that affect joint health."

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claims regarding the inclusion of the HCL form of glucosamine to either limit the claims to the fact the product "utilizes the HCL form of Glucosamine," or otherwise clearly disclose that the inclusion of 1.4 times more pure glucosamine has not been proven to result in superior performance.

Similarly, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claims regarding, 5-LOXIN in its Joint Shield, to more narrowly limit it to the inclusion of "a potent [concentrated] extract of Boswellia serrata called 5-LOXIN", without a comparative reference to the Boswellia in Osteo Bi-Flex being "10 times more concentrated than the typical Boswellia extracts."

NBTY, in its advertiser’s statement, said it "supports and is pleased to participate in the NAD self-regulatory review process" and will make certain recommended modifications. However, the company said it intends to appeal the NARB "any and all issues relating to Rexall’s statement that "5-Loxin is 10 times more concentrated."

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