In its 2007 Budget Justification Summary, the Federal Trade Commission warned that in the coming year it will continue to scrutinize dietary supplement marketing practices. The FTC highlighted health products, including dietary supplements, as a key area on which it will be keeping an eye.
The deceptive marketing of products that may affect consumer health and safety will continue to be an FTC priority. The FTC will focus on health care products, including dietary supplements. Consumer demand for such products is increasing, and fraudulent or deceptive claims about these products can pose risks to consumers’ well-being. Going forward, the FTC will continue its aggressive program by focusing its law enforcement on violations that create the greatest risks to consumer health.
One area where supplement marketers can expect greater scrutiny from the FTC is in the use of testimonials. Recently, FTC published “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” and requested public comment. According to FTC, the Guides “are designed to assist businesses and others in conforming their endorsement and testimonial advertising practices to the requirements of the FTC Act.”
However, the focus is clearly the use of testimonials in supplement advertising, as the two studies that led to the proposed rule were entitled “The Effect of Consumer Testimonials and Disclosures of Ad Communication for a Dietary Supplement” and “Effects of Consumer Testimonials in Weight Loss, Dietary Supplement and Business Opportunity Advertisements.” Public comment on the guides is due by March 19th.
The new guides follow on the heels of the FTC settlement of cases alleging deceptive marketing for Xenadrine EFX, CortiSlim, TrimSpa, and One-A-Day WeightSmart products. According to this press release, $25 Million total was recovered in connection with the settlements.