The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s decision that the marketers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements deceptively advertised products to the public. Further, the ruling determined that the company did not have adequate support for claims that its products could treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction, or that they were clinically proven to work.
The Commission Opinion found that the POM marketers made deceptive claims in 36 advertisements and promotional materials challenged at trial after issuing a September 2010 administrative complaint — going beyond Judge Chappell’s ruling, which found false or deceptive claims in only 19 of the challenged items.
The Commission issued a Final Order that bars the POM marketers from making any claim that a food, drug, or dietary supplement is “effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease,” including heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, unless the claim is supported by two randomized, well-controlled, human clinical trials. The Order also prohibits misrepresentations regarding any test, study, or research, and requires competent and reliable scientific evidence to support claims about the “health benefits, performance, or efficacy” of any food, drug, or dietary supplement.
FTC Upholds Deceptive Advertising Ruling in POM Case