FTC to Focus on Unsubstantiated Health Claims

January 30, 2019 | Steven Shapiro | FDA | Fraud and Abuse | Litigation | Pharmaceuticals

On January 28, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published on its Business Blog a post titled “Hey Nineteen: Nine FTC developments that could impact your business in 2019.” Of most importance to the healthcare industry is the FTC’s promise to focus on unsubstantiated health claims in advertising. The relevant paragraph of the post reads as follows:

Health Claims. In 2019, you can count on the FTC to continue to challenge unsubstantiated health claims. The agency’s recent efforts have spanned the demographic spectrum from products raising safety concerns for kids to so-called treatments for serious illnesses affecting older consumers. Cases against Regenerative Medical GroupCellmarkiV Bars, and Nobetes challenged unproven representations for products promising to treat Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. Other actions addressed deceptive claims aimed at Boomer Consumers – for example, Telomerase’s anti-aging promises and representations that MSA 30X was “independently tested to help you hear up to 30 times better.” A $2 million settlement with ad agency Marketing Architects reminded advertising professionals of the weighty consequences of false diet claims. And joint warning letters from the FTC and FDA targeted unproven representations for treating opioid addiction and the sale of nicotine-laced liquids for e-cigarettes in packaging that mimicked kids’ candy and treats.”

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