"While the internet has created new avenues for commerce, it has also created another arena for potential regulatory enforcement, for those companies that are not prudent in their marketing," said AHPA president Michael McGuffin.
This is the second time in a month that website claims have been targeted by the FDA. In October it issued warning letters to 29 companies that it said made unsubstantiated health claims on their websites and product labels for products containing cherries.
AHPA advises that websites offering dietary supplements or dietary ingredients should present the same information as is required on product labels under the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA) - that is, a two-part disclaimer that the statement has not been evaluated by FDA and that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and contact information for the company and the nutrition labeling information.
Alternatively, they should provide a statement that the contact and nutrition labeling information is available upon request.
AHPA's guidelines are available online.
The industry association is planning a teleseminar entitled "Claim substantiation and advertising" early next year.