HEALTH

ERSP challenges stem cell claims made by online marketer Emergent Health

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program on Wednesday recommended that Emergent Health modify or discontinue certain Internet advertising claims for the company’s “JDI MultiVitamin,” promoted by the advertiser as designed to “increase adult stem cells.” The marketer voluntarily modified several claims at issue in ERSP’s inquiry.

JDI MultiVitamin is a dietary supplement containing a number of essential vitamins and minerals. According to the marketer, the supplement’s proprietary formula is also designed to “increase adult stem cells.”
 
At the outset of ERSP’s inquiry, the marketer asserted that it had voluntarily modified or discontinued certain of the claims at issue. While confirming that Emergent Health had implemented changes, ERSP noted in it decision that it remained concerned with several core claims. ERSP further noted that the advertiser did not provide ERSP with the results of testing on the JDI MultiVitamin formula, but instead relied on studies of the product’s ingredients.
 
Following its review, ERSP determined that the evidence in the record did not support claims that the use of the product would increase the number of adult stem cells, thereby improving immune system support, decreasing inflammation or bettering mental acuity and mood. ERSP recommended Emergent Health discontinue claims that the product can increase the number stem cells and/or provide specific disease protection.
 
ERSP also was concerned about statements that could be reasonably interpreted as unqualified superiority claims (e.g., “The most simple and cost effective…” and “the most advanced…”). Emergent Health informed ERSP that it has modified these claims to appear in future advertising in a noncomparative context.
 
Regarding the consumer testimonials at issue, ERSP noted that consumer endorsements themselves are not competent and reliable scientific evidence and a marketer should possess reliable substantiation – including, when appropriate, competent and reliable scientific evidence – to support such in the same manner the marketer would be required to do if it had made the representation directly. In the absence of data supporting the results consumers can typically expect, ERSP recommended that the marketer refrain from using consumer testimonials to communicate atypical product performance.
 
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said it “…agrees to accept ERSP’s report as applicable and agrees to amend all statements in its advertising to meet the conclusion of the ERSP report. Likewise, the Company is willing to complete the process and take ERSP’s recommendations into consideration in its future advertising.”

Claims at issue in ERSP’s review included: 

  • “It is designed to supply all of the micro nutrients needed to support life as well as increase adult stem cells”

  • " … may also help maintain existing telomere length by up to 5% according to recent studies of multi vitamins”;

  • “The ingredients of the product have been thoroughly tested for safety and also studied for the effects of increasing adult stem cells, improving immune system support, decreasing inflammation and bettering mental acuity and mood as well as telomere support based upon structure and function”; and

  • “My grandmother has Alzheimer’s, osteo, and heart problems. At her last doctor’s visit he told her that her tests are better than they have been for over 20 years.”

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council.


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Kaz launches new noninvasive thermometer that takes reading behind the ear

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Kaz on Thursday introduced its new Vicks behind ear thermometer (V980), which takes the guesswork out of measuring for fever. Using patented technology, the Vicks behind ear thermometer features rapid one-second readings, and is one of the first thermometers designed to measure temperature from behind the ear — a gentler, noninvasive approach to detecting fever than rectal, under-the-tongue and forehead measurements.

“Parents are often concerned about the reliability of thermometers and having to wake a sick child for a reading,” stated Jennifer Trachtenberg, pediatrician at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Kaz spokeswoman. “The soft hollow site behind the ear is very close to the carotid artery, which carries blood to the brain. This spot is easily accessible and ideal for accurate measurements, as it is naturally protected from factors like perspiration and drafts that can often cause misreading.”

The Vicks behind ear thermometer has a suggested retail price of $39.99 to $49.99, is backed by a lifetime warranty and is available at Rite Aid, Target, Walmart and Walgreens, the company stated.

 


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CHPA names Long Island mom to its Five Moms DXM-abuse awareness campaign

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Consumer Healthcare Products Association on Thursday identified Tammy Walsh as the newest mom to join its Five Moms campaign to raise awareness of teen cough medicine abuse among parents. Walsh is a mother of two teenage boys and a high school math teacher from Northport, N.Y.

According to the 2011 Monitoring the Future report released Wednesday, nearly 5% of teens have abused OTC cough medicines to get high over the past year. While overall abuse has leveled off for eighth and 10th graders, it has declined among 12th graders.

CHPA, which represents the leading makers of OTC medicines, launched the Five Moms campaign in 2007 with the goal of driving parents to action — to educate themselves on medicine abuse, to talk with their children about the risks of such abuse, to safeguard medicines in their homes and to spread the word to other parents. In summer 2011, Five Moms initiated a search to find a new mom to join the campaign. Walsh’s nomination statement on why she hoped to become the next Five Mom stood out in a dynamic selection of submissions due to her passion for working with teens and her impressive track record of education and engagement at the local level to address teen substance abuse.

"I’ve seen firsthand the impact that substance abuse can have on a family and a community," Walsh said. "Through my involvement with the Five Moms campaign I hope to help start the conversation between parents and teens about the risks of substance abuse in communities across the country. I am thrilled to join the Five Moms campaign in the fight against teen cough medicine abuse and look forward to continuing to spread awareness of this important issue."

Since its launch, the Five Moms campaign has reached more than 35 million parents and has resulted in 130,000 tell-a-friend electronic communications sent from parents to other parents to raise awareness of the issue of cough medicine abuse.

The Five Moms campaign features five dedicated mothers from a variety of backgrounds and geographic locations. The other moms at the heart of the Five Moms campaign are:

  • Becky Dyer, a former D.A.R.E. officer and deputy sheriff;
  • Blaise Brooks, a mother, caretaker and accountant;
  • Christy Crandell, a mother, author and founder of a treatment and recovery center for teens; and
  • Misty Fetko, a nurse and mother whose son lost his life while high on DXM.

For more information on efforts to raise awareness of teen cough medicine abuse, visit StopMedicineAbuse.org.

 


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