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NAD Says “Not So Fast” To Antihistamine Claims, Ad Disclosure

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

A National Advertising Division case involving claims for Schering-Plough's Claritin RediTabs underscores that an accurate disclosure cannot redeem a misleading claim

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Zyrtec, Claritin square off again in NAD forum

McNeil Consumer Health Care should modify TV advertising to ensure consumers understand the claim that Zyrtecbegins relieving allergy symptoms two hours faster than Schering-Plough's Claritin refers only to the first dose in a two-day treatment regimen, according to the National Advertising Division. While data support the onset of Zyrtec (cetirizine) in one hour compared to three hours for Claritin (loratadine), the Council of Better Business Bureaus unit said in a Nov. 20 decision, posted Dec. 15, that the advertisement's complex qualifying language "made it highly unlikely that consumers would fully understand the qualifications of the two hours faster claim." Merck subsidiary Schering brought the challenge and also argued advertising that claims "Zyrtec works fast" requires clarification; NAD agreed that such a claim should be qualified. Johnson & Johnson's McNeil said it disagrees with NAD's recommendations but will take them into account in future advertising for its antihistamine. The firm originally added qualifying language to the Zyrtec ads after Schering challenged McNeil in 2008 over Zyrtec's comparative onset claims referencing Claritin. In 2009, NAD recommended Schering revise ads for Claritin RediTabs, which McNeil challenged and NAD said equated speed of dissolution with speed of relief (1"The Tan Sheet" May 4, 2009)

Zyrtec, Claritin square off again in NAD forum

McNeil Consumer Health Care should modify TV advertising to ensure consumers understand the claim that Zyrtecbegins relieving allergy symptoms two hours faster than Schering-Plough's Claritin refers only to the first dose in a two-day treatment regimen, according to the National Advertising Division. While data support the onset of Zyrtec (cetirizine) in one hour compared to three hours for Claritin (loratadine), the Council of Better Business Bureaus unit said in a Nov. 20 decision, posted Dec. 15, that the advertisement's complex qualifying language "made it highly unlikely that consumers would fully understand the qualifications of the two hours faster claim." Merck subsidiary Schering brought the challenge and also argued advertising that claims "Zyrtec works fast" requires clarification; NAD agreed that such a claim should be qualified. Johnson & Johnson's McNeil said it disagrees with NAD's recommendations but will take them into account in future advertising for its antihistamine. The firm originally added qualifying language to the Zyrtec ads after Schering challenged McNeil in 2008 over Zyrtec's comparative onset claims referencing Claritin. In 2009, NAD recommended Schering revise ads for Claritin RediTabs, which McNeil challenged and NAD said equated speed of dissolution with speed of relief (1"The Tan Sheet" May 4, 2009)

Zyrtec, Claritin square off again in NAD forum

McNeil Consumer Health Care should modify TV advertising to ensure consumers understand the claim that Zyrtecbegins relieving allergy symptoms two hours faster than Schering-Plough's Claritin refers only to the first dose in a two-day treatment regimen, according to the National Advertising Division. While data support the onset of Zyrtec (cetirizine) in one hour compared to three hours for Claritin (loratadine), the Council of Better Business Bureaus unit said in a Nov. 20 decision, posted Dec. 15, that the advertisement's complex qualifying language "made it highly unlikely that consumers would fully understand the qualifications of the two hours faster claim." Merck subsidiary Schering brought the challenge and also argued advertising that claims "Zyrtec works fast" requires clarification; NAD agreed that such a claim should be qualified. Johnson & Johnson's McNeil said it disagrees with NAD's recommendations but will take them into account in future advertising for its antihistamine. The firm originally added qualifying language to the Zyrtec ads after Schering challenged McNeil in 2008 over Zyrtec's comparative onset claims referencing Claritin. In 2009, NAD recommended Schering revise ads for Claritin RediTabs, which McNeil challenged and NAD said equated speed of dissolution with speed of relief (1"The Tan Sheet" May 4, 2009)

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