BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Finds Lonza America Provided Reasonable Basis for Immune System Claims; Recommends Modification to Establishment Claims

New York, NY – August 22, 2013 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has recommended that Lonza America, Inc., modify certain “clinically” proven claims for the company’s “Alomune” dietary supplement.

However, ERSP found that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for general performance claims, an exclusivity claim and claims made through an expert’s endorsement.

ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.

ERSP reviewed online advertising for Alomune and identified several claims for review, including:

  •  “Keep Your Immune System Strong. Take Alomune All Year Long.” and “…it’s an immune system strengthener created to help you all year long.”
  •  “Welcome to Two-Times the Odds of Staying Healthy. Really.” and “In fact, a clinical study suggested that those taking Alomune had 2 times the odds of staying healthy on measured outcomes.”
  •  “A clinical study on Alomune showed more than twice the benefit as that shown in studies on vitamin C and Echinacea.”
  •  “Alomune works to keep your immune system strong and more active–that’s why I believe in it” [Dr. Dan Johnston]
  •  “Larch arabinogalactan is an extract of the larch tree. Lonza is the world’s only supplier of food-grade larch arabinogalactan.”

Lonza explained that the active ingredient in Alomune is a proprietary form of larch tree arabinogalactan called ResistAid, introduced to the market on October 1, 2012.

Lonza provided ERSP with a number of clinical studies and scientific data related to the effectiveness of larch arabinogalactan.

Following its review of the marketer’s evidence, ERSP concluded that Lonza America provided a reasonable basis for claims that use of the product will help keep the immune system “strong.”

ERSP recommended that the marketer modify the claim that “A clinical trial on healthy adults suggested that people taking Alomune were 57% more likely to stay healthy on primary health measurements vs. placebo” to more accurately describe the one study outcome measurement that served as the basis for the claim.

ERSP noted in its decision the omission of any reference on the marketer’s website to the source of the specific studies which Lonza relied on for its claims.

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “Lonza appreciates ERSP’s detailed review and its conclusions that Alomune is supported by valid scientific testing and other evidence demonstrating the benefits of Alomune. We will modify the Alomune website in accordance with ERSP’s recommendations, including adding a third party literature section to our website, posting clinical studies on Alomune and its active ingredient in that section, and providing references to relevant clinical data with our claims. We also will take the recommendations into account when designing future advertising communications.”