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National Advertising Division In Brief

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Novartis to discontinue or modify Excedrin claim: Novartis agrees to discontinue or modify its claim that Extra Strength Excedrin will begin to relieve a headache in 15 minutes after the National Advertising Review Board upholds a previous National Advertising Division decision that the firm appealed, NARB says Nov. 24. The appeals division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus reviewed claim-substantiation materials that Novartis submitted to NAD after the firm's express claim for its headache product was challenged by Wyeth, which markets competing headache relief product Advil and has since been acquired by Pfizer (1"The Tan Sheet" March 23, 2009 and 2"The Tan Sheet" Oct. 26, 2009). In March, NAD decided that Novartis' substantiation did not support the claim that the product is the "only gel tab with a triple ingredient formula to start relieving your headache in just 15 minutes." NAD also considered an implied claim the product would provide considerable, if not total, relief in that time. NARB explained that it agrees with NAD's decision that "Novartis did not provide sufficient substantiation for the express claim that Extra Strength Excedrin starts to relieve headache pain in 15 minutes, and recommended that Novartis either discontinue or substantially modify that claim." According to NARB's report, Novartis said it "will, if it uses a similar claim in the future, take NAD's and NARB's conclusions into consideration in formulating and presenting the claim.

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NAD on nicotine cessation product claims

American Reduction Systems will discontinue claims for its Cold Turkey Tea dietary supplement after the National Advertising Division found the firm did not support the smoking cessation claims featured in Internet ads. The division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus found data the company supplied to support the claims - including "Guaranteed to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms by up to 100% or your money back!" - insufficiently connected the source and amount of cytosine in the tea with that proven to be effective in the various studies of the substance. The watchdog group also found no evidence to support the claim the product is "the only true all natural, organic smoking cessation product on the market today." NAD previously referred ARS to the Federal Trade Commission for failing to respond to its initial inquiry on the claims, though the watchdog group re-opened the case when the firm subsequently responded (1"The Tan Sheet" Nov. 30, 2009)

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