BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Finds Merix Can Support Certain Claims For Releev

New York, NY – Nov. 15, 2010 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Merix Pharmaceutical Corporation provided adequate support for certain performance and establishment claims for Releev, a product formulated for the treatment of the herpes virus. ERSP noted in its decision that, during the course of ERSP’s inquiry, the marketer modified or discontinued certain claims.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

Direct response adverting for RELEEV, came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to an anonymous challenge by a competing company, which also challenged advertising claims made by Merix for two other products, Shingle-EEZE and Procinign.

At the outset of ERSP’s inquiry, the marketer asserted that the challenged claim for SHINGLE-EEZE had been removed from Merix’s Website long before the ERSP inquiry was commenced, and that the company had not offered SHINGLE-EEZE for sale for nearly a decade. Further, the marketer noted that PROCINIGN is sold to medical professionals at a Website that is not controlled by Merix. Given the advertiser’s representations, ERSP closed its inquiry into advertising claims for SHINGLE-EEZE and PROCINIGN.

Advertising claims at issue for RELEEV, the remaining product, included:

  • “Ms. Squires is credited with inventing Viracea, a novel biotechnology that has broad based antiviral and antibacterial properties.”
  • “I invented Viracea, because I decided to find a natural treatment that really works on the herpes virus.”
  • “Use of RELEEV on herpes lesions consistently demonstrated rapid healing of  lesions with all symptoms relieved in 24 hours.”
  • “Recent clinical trials conducted on human subjects prove RELEEV is highly efficacious at resolving cold sores.”
  • “RELEEV … resolves all symptoms of herpes virus outbreaks, in some cases, less than 24 hours”
  • “Viracea, the active agent in Shingle-EEZE, has proven effective against the shingles virus and also against herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. It works against strains of mouth and genital herpes that are resistant to acyclovir, the standard drug therapy.”
  • “PROGINICIN is indicated for use on any sore or infection in the oral cavity including herpetic lesions. Reported results are remarkable when used of all grades of gingivitis.”


During the course of ERSP’s review, Merix said it would modify its claims to delete references to RELEEV’s use on “gingival stomatitis and herpes genitalis” and remove from its Website the claim that “Use of RELEEV demonstrated the pain of herpes caused lesions eases in 5-30 minutes.”


The marketer said that three performance claims (“In 100 outbreaks, healing of the outbreak took on average 21.2 hours,” “…healed within 21 hours,” and “… from the redness and swelling when I applied my formula to complete resolution of any sign of a cold sore was 21.2 hours.”) were removed from the Merix Website prior to ERSP’s inquiry.

Further, the marketer said it would discontinue claims that “RELEEV is approved under an FDA OTC Monograph,” and modify the statement “recent clinical trials” more clearly refer to a single “clinical trial.”

As to the remaining claims, ERSP determined that the marketer provided adequate support for the claim that “Use of RELEEV on herpes lesions consistently demonstrated rapid healing…” and that RELEEV provides “24-hour symptom relief.”

Finally, ERSP did not object to claims pertaining to Viracea stating that the founder was looking for “a natural treatment that really works on the herpes virus” or that the formula has “… has broad based antiviral and antibacterial properties.”

The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “Merix is pleased that ERSP’s decision recognizes that Merix can continue to make the truthful claims it has been making” and “Merix continues to be a strong supporter of the self-regulatory process embodied by the various entities within the NARC umbrella.”