BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Recommends Plymouth Direct Discontinue Certain Claims for ‘Tag Away;’ Finds Marketer Can Support Safety Claims
New York, NY – June 18, 2013 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) recommended that Plymouth Direct discontinue certain performance and establishment claims made for Tag Away, a homeopathic skin tag removal drug. ERSP found, however, the marketer could support “all natural” and safety claims.
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 broadcast and online advertising for Tag Away and identified several claims for review, including:
- “…Remove Skin Tags the All-Natural Way with Tag Away!”
- “…naturally and painlessly eliminates pesky skin tags.”; “Eliminates with no pain!”; and “No pain”
- “Just a few drops a day and Tag Away gets rid of skin tags with no trouble, no scarring, and no pain.”
- “Skin tags just dry up & fall away.”
- “No scarring”
- “All skin types”
- “…completely remove skin tags on all areas of the body without scars or discomfort.”
- “Tag Away will work in 3-8 weeks. You may see results in as little as 3 weeks.”
- “Safe for even your most sensitive areas”
- “Clinically proven to remove skin tags”
- “All Natural” and “No chemicals”
As support for the performance and establishment claims at issue in the inquiry, Plymouth Direct submitted the results of a product efficacy study conducted on Tag Away.
Following its review of the evidence in the record, ERSP determined that the marketer could not support the establishment claims and performance claims that were the subject of this inquiry.
ERSP also recommended that Plymouth Direct modify its advertising to clearly communicate to consumers that the evidentiary basis for its product performance claims are a historical and traditional use of the active ingredient, Thuja occidentalis.
However, ERSP found that the marketer was able to support claims relating to Tag Away’s ability to be used on “all skin types.” Further, ERSP concluded that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for its claims of safety, no pain and no scarring and had no objection to claims characterizing Tag Away as “all natural.”
ERSP determined that “so long as the homeopathic product does not qualify as a prescription drug pursuant to federal standards, it should not be prohibited from marketing the product based on a clear understanding that the advertising claims are based in traditional and/or historical use.”
In this case, ERSP determined that the efficacy claims are permitted, but that the ads did not make clear that the claims are based on traditional and/or historical use.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said “it appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program’s self-regulatory process. Although Plymouth Direct disagrees with ERSP, Plymouth Direct has agreed to make [the] minor modifications to its advertising language.”