NAD Examines Advertising for Rexall Sundown’s Osteo Bi-Flex Dietary Supplement

New York, NY – August 14, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has determined that Rexall Sundown has provided adequate substantiation for certain advertising claims made for its Osteo Bi-Flex Dietary Supplement, which contains glucosamine and chondroitin. NAD has further recommended the company modify certain other claims and the company has said it intends to appeal those finding to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, requested substantiation for product description, exclusivity and “doctor-recommended” claims made in Internet advertising and on product packaging. Claims at issue included:

  • “#1 Doctor Recommended Brand”
  • “Clinically Tested”
  • “Osteo Bi-Flex is the only brand to feature the revolutionary formulation of ingredients in Joint Shield™, which work to guard against the action of enzymes that affect joint health.”
  • “Osteo Bi-Flex® utilizes the HCL form of Glucosamine. It provides more pure Glucosamine as compared to Glucosamine Sulfate – 1.4 times more to be exact!”
  • “The key ingredient Joint Shield is a potent extract of Boswellia serrata called 5-LOXIN, which is 10 times more concentrated than the typical Boswellic extracts. The 5-LOXIN in Joint Shield helps with joint flare ups and Boswellia extracts have also been shown to significantly improve, knee comfort, knee mobility and increase walking distance.”
  • “Advanced Double Strength”
  • “Advanced Triple Strength”

Following its review of the evidence, which included data produced by the National Disease and Therapeutic Index (NDTI), NAD determined that the advertiser’s “#1 Doctor Recommended Brand” claim was substantiated. However, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the accompanying disclosure to make it more prominent and easier to read.

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its Website to avoid conveying an implied message regarding any specific reason for its “#1 Doctor Recommended Brand” status. NAD further recommended that the advertiser modify the claim “#1 Doctor Recommended Joint Care Brand**” to more narrowly and accurately reflect the findings of the NDTI survey – specifically that it is based on the NDTI report among physicians who recommended a glucosamine/ chondroitin or glucosamine supplement, not simply a” Joint Care Brand.”

NAD determined that a reasonable basis existed for the advertiser’s “clinically tested” claims with respect to the therapeutic effects of glucosamine and chondroitin, but recommended that the advertiser discontinue use of this claim in conjunction with its Good Manufacturing Practices.

NAD further concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claim that “Osteo Bi-Flex is the only brand to feature the revolutionary formulation of ingredients in Joint Shield™, which work to guard against the action of enzymes that affect joint health.”

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claims regarding the inclusion of the HCL form of glucosamine to either limit the claims to the fact the product “utilizes the HCL form of Glucosamine,” or otherwise clearly disclose that the inclusion of 1.4 times more pure glucosamine has not been proven to result in superior performance.

Similarly, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its claims regarding, 5-LOXIN in its Joint Shield, to more narrowly limit it to the inclusion of “a potent [concentrated] extract of Boswellia serrata called 5-LOXIN”, without a comparative reference to the Boswellia in Osteo Bi-Flex being “10 times more concentrated than the typical Boswellia extracts.”

Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue use of the term “Double Strength” and “Triple Strength” on the respective product names, “Osteo Bi-Flex Advanced Double Strength” and “Osteo Bi-Flex Advanced Triple Strength” to avoid conveying the message that the products contain twice or three times the amount of key ingredients.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it.” supports and is pleased to participate in the NAD self-regulatory review process” and will make certain recommended modifications. However, the company said it intends to appeal the NARB “any and all issues relating to Rexall’s statement that “5-Loxin is 10 times more concentrated” and any and all issues relating to Rexall’s “double” and “triple” strength claims.”

NAD's inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising. Details of the initial inquiry, NAD's decision, and the advertiser's response will be included in the next NAD Case Report.

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The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971 by the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc. (AAAA), the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), and the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB). Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation. NARC is the body that establishes the policies and procedures for the CBBB’s National Advertising Division (NAD) and Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), as well as for the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP.)

NAD and CARU are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. The National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate those cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s sole source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership fees to the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising self regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org.

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