Last fall, supplement industry trade group The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
, announced a new initiative, in partnership with the National Advertising Division (NAD)
of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB)
, to increase monitoring of advertising for dietary supplements. The stated purpose of the initiative was “to increase consumer confidence in the truth and accuracy of advertising claims for dietary supplement products and encourage fair competition within the industry.” For background information on the program from CRN, click here
CRN describes the basic crux of the initiative as follows:
Through a series of multi-year grants from CRN, the new initiative will allow NAD to hire an additional attorney who will focus solely on this product category. The initiative is anticipated to address not only comparative advertising claims among makers of dietary supplements, but also substantive claims that are deceptive or misleading and clearly go beyond what’s supported by research and allowed by law–claims that feed the public’s distrust of the supplement industry.
The NAD’s most powerful tool is the threat of FTC referral. Under section 5 of the FTC Act
, the FTC may prosecute advertising that is unfair or deceptive. The FTC often investigates and prosecutes companies for advertising that the NAD has vetted and found lacking in substantiation. As a result, if your company is the recipient of an NAD inquiry letter it should be taken very seriously since a poor outcome at the NAD could lead to disasterous consequences at the FTC.
Thanks to summer law clerk Jared Weisser for this post.