The online tool located on CRN’s website links to abstracts of the case decisions. Users will then have the option to subscribe to the NAD’s case reports to get the full text of the decisions.
The goal, said Rend Al-Mondhiry, regulatory counsel, CRN, who coordinates the organiztion’s interaction with NAD, is to make a better industry by weeding out false and misleading advertsizing.
“Our ultimate goal for the dietary supplement industry is to weed out deceptive claims, and if we can do this as part of a self-regulatory effort, that’s even better,” she told NutraIngredients-USA.
“We tend to see the usual suspects, a lot of weight loss claims, some sports nutrition claims, along with sexual enhancement. But we really try to look across the whole spectrum,” she said.
More than 140 decisions included
The tool compiles the more than 140 NAD decisions issued since 2007. NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, and works with companies to bring unsubstantiated claims into compliance.
CRN’s spreadsheet is searchable by supplement category; product name; advertiser; and the types of claims made, helping companies find decisions relevant to their own product lines.
“It’s not meant to be a be-all legal analysis,” she said. “Companies still need to need to consult with their lawyers about making claims.”
CRN’s program with the NAD began in 2006 when the association began providing a series of grants to enable the NAD to expand its oversight program covering dietary supplement advertisements. The grants from CRN, totaling nearly $1.5 million over eight years have allowed the NAD to increase the number of dietary supplement cases it examines.
“We through out NAD task force here at CRN refer some cases but they do their own ongoing monitoring at NAD. They have an attorney who just monitors dietary supplement claims, and a CRN grant pays for that,” she said.
“We anticipate that program will continue for many years. There are always financial considerations, but we anticipate the program will continue and we will have the funding to do so.
“We’ve had close to 150 decisions now and we have had most of the companies participate and I think it is a great example of self-regulation,” she said.