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McNEIL'S STOMACH UPSET SUIT V. AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS

Executive Summary

McNEIL'S STOMACH UPSET SUIT V. AMERICAN HOME PRODUCTS is the latest round in the companies' ongoing OTC analgesic ad claim battle. McNeil filed its May 29 suit within days of the launch of new AHP television advertisements which claim, McNeil said, that Advil (ibuprofen) is comparable to Tylenol in the frequency of stomach upset adverse reactions. In one of the advertisements the spokesperson says: "If you worry about the discomfort of stomach upset like I do, I find that nothing is better than Advil, not even Tylenol." McNeil said that the ads "mislead consumers in that they falsely represent that Advil causes stomach upset with no greater frequency than Tylenol." McNeil argued that "since ibuprofen causes stomach side effects, including stomach upset, more frequently than Tylenol, the claim that 'nothing is better than Advil' with respect to stomach upset is not only false but dangerous to the public health." McNeil claimed that the ads encourage people with gastrointestinal problems to self-medicate with ibuprofen, which like all NSAID's causes GI side effects. McNeil stated that "in fact, ibuprofen is significantly inferior to Tylenol in terms of causing gastric side effects, including stomach upset." AHP began the nationwide television ad campaign for Advil on the same day that a New York federal judge enjoined both McNeil and AHP from using certain comparative safety advertising claims. The judge found that both companies had made false and misleading ad claims for their respective analgesics ("The Pink Sheet" May 25, T&G-1). That case was initiated by AHP last year.
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