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NPF notifies FTC of 26 advertisers making illegal drug claims

By Hank Schultz , 18-Dec-2012

The Truth in Advertising program of the Natural Products Foundation has referred another 26 advertisers on to the Federal Trade Commission for making drug claims on behalf of dietary supplements.

Marc Ullman, chairman of NPF’s Legal Advisory Council, Chairman of the Natural Products Foundation (NPF), met with Richard Cleland of the FTC on Dec. 11 to present the documentation on the advertisers. The organizations referred to the FTC failed to amend marketing materials after being contacted by program, and Ullman requested that the agency take action against the 26 companies, as NPF urges it to do for all non compliant advertisers.

"NPF is now completing its third full year working to rehabilitate industry advertising,” Ullman said. “As our program progresses, the companies we are reaching out to have become increasingly receptive to our message.”

Milestones in program

The Truth in Advertising recently passed several milestones.  Earlier this year, the program mailed it’s 200th warning letter.  And the pace of the program’s work is picking up;  this month the program sent out its 100th warning letter of 2012.  Since 2010, NPF has initiated more than 300 advertising case reviews and mailed 235 warning letters to companies responsible for marketing dietary supplements. During this period, NPF has referred a total of 73 cases to representatives from the FTC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for further action. 

The program reviews the advertising of dietary supplement marketers for illegal drug claims.  Companies that are deemed to have stepped over the line are notified and offered advice on how to bring their messages into compliance. Over the course of the program, two-thirds of all advertisers contacted by NPF have brought their promotions into compliance; those who choose not to cooperate are referred on for possible regulatory action.

 “With guidance, advertisers often correct their materials and move on without issue. Most are grateful for the educational resources and advice NPF provides,” Ullman said. 

“NPF aims to improve the overall standard of supplement advertising,” said David Brown, board chairman at NPF. “Working with federal regulators to minimize bad actors and eliminate egregious and non-compliant advertisers is a positive step forward.”

 Current NPF Legal Advisory Council members, who volunteer their time, are:  Marc Ullman of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, Jackie Kuler of Gronek & Associates, Nicholas Licato of Nexgen Pharma, and Jim Prochnow and Justin Prochnow of Greenberg Traurig.