Marc Ullman, chairman of the Natural Products Foundation (NPF) Legal Advisory Council, presented documentation highlighting 40 advertisers responsible for making drug claims on behalf of dietary supplements to the FTC in January. The cases were also presented to representatives of FDA.
The 40 organizations referred to FDA and FTC failed to amend marketing materials after being contacted by the NPF Truth in Advertising Program. NPF requested that the agencies take action against all non-compliant companies, including the most recent Truth in Advertising referrals.
The NPF Truth in Advertising Program educates publishers, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to help ensure that consumers receive accurate information about dietary supplements. In 2013, NPF reviewed 275 advertising cases suspected to be problematic and mailed 150 warning letters to companies marketing dietary supplements with illegal drug and disease claims. Since 2010, 74 percent of warning letter recipients have acknowledged the problems highlighted by NPF investigation and worked to revise their promotional content and advertising practices.
NPF is pleased with the continued feedback and interest our Truth in Advertising initiative has received over the past four years from FTC and FDA," Ullman said. We are working aggressively to maintain advertising standards within the industry, and to rehabilitate problems we see from the inside. Since 2010, this program has sent 400 warning letters to companies with illegal claims in their advertising. Every year we find the advertisers increasingly receptive and open to our message of reform. Changes are made day-to-day, improving the larger picture for the industry, and protecting consumers from false or misleading information."
The NPF Legal Advisory Council is made up of a group of volunteer lawyers to help monitor and educate the natural products industry. The current members are: Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, New York; William Garvin Buchanan of Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Washington, D.C.; Jackie Kuler of Gronek & Associates, Chicago; Nicholas Licato, general counsel at Nexgen Pharma; and Jim Prochnow and Justin Prochnow of Greenberg Traurig, Denver.
The Truth in Advertising Program provides resources to industry members so that the information presented to consumers concerning dietary supplements is truthful and not misleading. Resources are available on the NPF website.
NPF aims to improve the overall standard of supplement advertising," said David Brown, chairman of the NPF board of directors. We continue our industry outreach knowing the absolute importance of honest advertising for both the well-being of consumers and the sustained integrity of all natural products."