NAD is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum. Through NAD’s ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with its initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) to expand NAD’s review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD requested substantiation from Nu Century for claims made in Internet advertising, including:
• “The natural solutions for your asthma/allergy customers growing healthcare concerns”
• “Clinically shown to support upper respiratory health and clearer, easier breathing”
• “Clinically shown to naturally enhance your breathing”
• “This natural herbal breathing enhancer is specially formulated with a unique blend of 23 herbs, clinically shown to support respiratory health and clearer breathing”
• “The natural way to clearer breathing”
In addition to the specific claims above, CRN raised a concern over the consumer testimonials on the advertiser’s Website.
The advertiser, upon receipt of NAD’s inquiry, informed NAD that it had permanently discontinued claims that state Respirin is “clinically shown” to produce any health benefit. Further, the advertiser asserted that it had discontinued all claims that reference specific diseases, including asthma and allergies, claims at the company’s Website that reference “clinical support,” and all testimonials.
NAD reviewed evidence indicating the ingredients in Respirin have been recognized and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for lung health and considered the report of a TCM expert who concluded that “… there is sufficient support from a TCM perspective to support the use of Resprin as a formula to assist people with breathing difficulties.”
NAD concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for certain claims based on TCM for the ingredients in Resprin, to the extent they are clearly stated as such, in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission Guides, i.e., “[C]laims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose.”
In this case, however, the advertiser maintained it could support its advertising claims independently of the TCM based evidence. NAD disagreed.
NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue certain claims that go beyond TCM-based evidence, including claims that Resprin can “naturally enhance your breathing,” is “The natural way to clearer breathing,” or will help one “Breathe easier.”
In its advertiser’s statement, Nu Century said that it did not agree that “Traditional Chinese Medicine is the only basis for its marketing claims.”
“Nonetheless, in a continued spirit of cooperation, Nu Century accepts the conclusions and the recommendations of NAD in its final case decision. Accordingly, Nu Century agrees to take these recommendations into account in the language of its future advertising …” the company said.