The Natural Products Foundation (NPF) has finalized its fourth year of the Truth in Advertising Program, an ambitious initiative designed to help industry members present accurate promotions and information about natural products to consumers.
“The NPF Truth in Advertising program clearly demonstrates that members of our industry are responsible and support ongoing educational efforts to ensure broad knowledge of truth in advertising standards,” stated NPF chairman David Brown at SupplySide West in November. “We are aggressively working to assure that advertising is in compliance with existing regulations.”
Truth in Advertising educates publishers, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to help ensure that the information presented to consumers concerning dietary supplements is truthful and not misleading.
“I’m happy to report that the vast majority of companies in this industry are knowledgeable, responsible, and want to do the right thing,” said Brown. “More and more, companies don’t just want to do well, they want to do good. They want to do the right thing, and so they’re taking steps to make sure that they’re in compliance.”
In 2013, NPF reviewed 275 advertising cases and mailed 150 warning letters to companies responsible for marketing dietary supplements with illegal drug and disease claims.
“There are some companies that are well-intended, but maybe they’re inexperienced, maybe they are relatively newcomers, and don’t have a lot of resources, and so in their ignorance and in their zeal, they say things that they really shouldn’t say,” stated Brown. “They are pretty easy to deal with. We point out their deficiencies and the way that they’re not compliant by utilizing some of the industry’s top legal minds and authorities, who work with us on a pro-bono basis, to help these companies get into compliance. In the vast majority of cases, as soon as we point out the things that need to be fixed, they go ahead and make those changes.”
Since 2010, 73.5 percent of warning letter recipients have acknowledged the problems highlighted and worked to revise their promotional content and advertising practices. Over the course of the program, Truth in Advertising has initiated 575 advertising case reviews and mailed 385 warning letters.
The Truth in Advertising Program is overseen by NPF Legal Advisory Council Chairman Marc Ullman and NPF Executive Director Deb Knowles. The Truth in Advertising Review is initiated by NPF staff members under the supervision of the NPF Legal Advisory Council.
“The NPF Legal Advisory Council is composed of dedicated lawyers who volunteer their time to help monitor problems and educate members of our industry,” said Marc Ullman. “This is a shining example of our industry’s commitment to self-improvement.”
Current Legal Advisory Council volunteers are Mr. Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, New York; William Garvin of Buchanan, 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.