Online glucosamine/chondroitin provider advised to discontinue claims

After agreeing to comply, however, many challenged claims still accessible on site

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Friday recommended that online distributor Supple Beverages discontinue a wide range of advertising claims for its Supple liquid glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, including weight-loss claims and speed-of-action claims.

In addition, Supple Beverages charged that the mainstream glucosamine/chondroitin products are “fake, low quality, [have] ineffective dosages, [do] not have in [them] what is claimed on the label or [come] from unproven sources.” Supple sourced the National Institutes of Health article published “recently” in the New England Journal of Medicine, and added that the “information has been suppressed. This is the largest billion-dollar American fraud of our generation.”

The NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its inaccurate claims disparaging glucosamine and chondroitin products in general. In addition, the NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim that “the active agents in Supple are prescribed by medical doctors as a first-line standard of care for joint suffering relief all around the world,” to clarify that the “active agents” referred to are glucosamine and chondroitin, and further, that the medical doctors prescribing them are in “other countries,” as these supplements are not sold by prescription in the United States.

Further, the NAD recommended that the advertiser take care to avoid conveying a message that the ingredients in Supple are approved by the Food and Drug Administration at pharmaceutical or prescription strength. The claim that “our chondroitin comes from the only company in the world that can make a pharmaceutical grade chondroitin” still is on the company’s site.

The NAD found that the comparative claim, “Supple uses the highest strength of glucosamine and chondroitin that is highly regulated and sold as natural joint rebuilding agents in over 40 countries,” similarly was unsupported, and the agency recommended that the claim be discontinued.

According to the NAD, Supple represented that it permanently has discontinued many of the challenged claims, though on Monday many of those claims still were accessible at SuppleBodies.com/cause.php, including the inaccurate claim that “no federal agency is checking to make sure that what is stated on a label is in a product.”

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