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Ads that Refer to a Specific Level of Support 3. The Amount and Type of Evidence 4. The Quality of the Evidence 5. The Totality of the Evidence 6. The Relevance to the Evidence to the Specific Claim 1. Claims based on Consumer Testimonials and Expert Endorsements 2. Claims based on Traditional Use 3.
Scientific research on the associations between supplements and health is accumulating rapidly. The number of products — and the variety of uses for which they are promoted — have increased significantly in the last few years. The role of the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces laws outlawing "unfair or deceptive acts or practices," is to ensure that consumers get accurate information about dietary supplements so that they can make informed decisions about these products.
As applied to dietary supplements, the FDA has primary responsibility for claims on product labeling, including packaging, inserts, and other promotional materials distributed at the point of sale.
The FTC has primary responsibility for claims in advertising, including print and broadcast ads, infomercials, catalogs, and similar direct marketing materials. Marketing on the Internet is subject to regulation in the same fashion as promotions through any other media.
Because of their shared jurisdiction, the two agencies work closely to ensure that their enforcement efforts are consistent to the fullest extent feasible.
The answer to these questions is that advertising for any product — including dietary supplements — must be truthful, not misleading, and substantiated. Given the dramatic increase in the volume and variety of dietary supplement advertising in recent years, FTC staff is issuing this guide to clarify how long-standing FTC policies and enforcement practices relate to dietary supplement advertising.
In general, the FTC gives great deference to an FDA determination of whether there is adequate support for a health claim. Furthermore, the FTC and the FDA will generally arrive at the same conclusion when evaluating unqualified health claims.
As the Food Policy Statement notes, however, there may be certain limited instances when a carefully qualified health claim in advertising may be permissible under FTC law, in circumstances where it has not been authorized for labeling.
However, supplement marketers are cautioned that the FTC will require both strong scientific support and careful presentation for such claims.
The FTC has taken action not just against supplement manufacturers, but also, in appropriate circumstances, against ad agencies, distributors, retailers, catalog companies, infomercial producers and others involved in deceptive promotions.
Therefore, all parties who participate directly or indirectly in the marketing of dietary supplements have an obligation to make sure that claims are presented truthfully and to check the adequacy of the support behind those claims. The FTC's substantiation standard is a flexible one that depends on many factors.
When evaluating claims about the efficacy and safety of foods, dietary supplements and drugs, the FTC has typically applied a substantiation standard of competent and reliable scientific evidence.
To determine whether an ad complies with FTC law, it is first necessary to identify all express and implied claims that the ad conveys to consumers. Once the claims are identified, the scientific evidence is assessed to determine whether there is adequate support for those claims.
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The following sections describe this two-step process with examples illustrating how principles of ad interpretation and substantiation apply in the context of dietary supplement advertising.
The examples have been simplified to illustrate one or two specific points.Conversely, when a trusted publisher features native advertising for a trustworthy brand, 41 percent of consumers gain trust in that publisher.
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