HEALTH

NAD refers company making unsubstantiated disease-state claims to FTC

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday referred advertising for Serranol dietary supplement, marketed by Good Health Naturally, to the Federal Trade Commission for further review after the company declined to fully participate in a National Advertising Division review of its advertising claims.

As part of an initiative to expand the review of advertising claims made for dietary supplements, the Council for Responsible Nutrition challenged advertising claims made for the product, which included advertising the health benefits of the ingredient ecklonia cava extract for people who suffer conditions that included fibromyalgia, vascular inflammation, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular conditions, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anticlotting disorders, memory disorders, brain function disorders, joint and nerve pain, allergies, COPD, obesity, diabetes or penile dysfunction.

CRN also challenged safety claims concerning the product.

The NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue many of the challenged claims because it did not conduct any studies on the Serranol product itself and because it provided only animal studies, informal summaries, abstracts or bibliographic references in support of the majority of its ingredient claims.

The NAD determined that the very few in vitro and in vivo full-text studies submitted by the advertiser were insufficient to support the advertiser’s strong health claims, and determined that the advertiser did not produce any evidence to support its safety claims, although the advertiser is free to tout that ECE is an edible brown algae.

The advertiser failed to submit a statement that it would comply with NAD’s recommendations. As a result, NAD has referred the advertising claims at issue to the FTC for further review.


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Idaho joins National Precursor Log Exchange in its fight against PSE diversion

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Idaho on Monday became state No. 21 to adopt the real-time, stop-sale technology National Precursor Log Exchange in its battle against the diversion of the cough-cold ingredient pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine.

"Idaho has taken an important step in the battle against methamphetamine by adopting a proven system that provides law enforcement with an invaluable tool to track criminal activity and bring meth dealers and producers to justice," stated Scott Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. "In addition to aiding police officers, NPLEx allows retailers to block unlawful pseudoephedrine purchases right at the sales counter, and just as importantly, it protects law-abiding consumers’ access to the cold and allergy medicines they depend on for relief."

NPLEx is funded by manufacturers who are members of CHPA as the industry solution to combating PSE diversion. NPLEx provides a secure, interconnected electronic logbook that tracks and logs every PSE sale in every store at the precise moment it is happening. When a purchase is made, the logbook advises retailers when to refuse a sale based on an individual’s purchase record elsewhere in the state and beyond its borders. The system also provides law enforcement officials with a tool in the fight against meth as the only system that can block the illegal sale in real time and across state lines.

Idaho Gov. "Butch" Otter signed the legislation — Senate Bill 1309 — which originally was introduced by Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Dist. 2.


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Cornell study weighs the cost of obesity

BY Michael Johnsen

ITHACA, N.Y. — Obesity now accounts for almost 21% of U.S. healthcare costs — more than twice the previous estimates — according to a new Cornell University study released Monday.

The research, one of the first to show a causal effect of obesity on medical care costs, utilized new methods and makes a stronger case for government intervention to prevent obesity, the authors wrote in the January issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

The study found that an obese person incurs medical costs that are $2,741 higher (in 2005 dollars) than if they were not obese. Nationwide, that translates into $190.2 billion per year, or 20.6% of national health expenditures. Previous estimates had pegged the cost of obesity at $85.7 billion, or 9.1% of national health expenditures.

“Historically we’ve been underestimating the benefit of preventing and reducing obesity,” stated lead author John Cawley, Cornell professor of policy analysis and management and of economics. “Obesity raises the risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack and diabetes. For any type of surgery, there are complications with anesthesia, with healing [for the obese]. … Obesity raises the costs of treating almost any medical condition. It adds up very quickly.”


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