BBB National Programs Archive

Iovate Health Sciences Participates In ERSP Forum

New York, NY – May 16, 2007 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Iovate Health Sciences International, Inc. (Iovate), has provided a reasonable basis for certain claims for the Cylaris weight-loss supplement, but recommended modification of others. The marketer’s advertising was challenged by WellNx Life Sciences, a competing manufacturer of nutritional supplements.

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).

Claims at issue in the ERSP inquiry included:

  • “Introducing new Cylaris, a clinical breakthrough that can help you lose a significant amount of weight”
  • “Lose 287% the weight compared to placebo” “Lose up to 32 lbs. in 8 weeks!”
  • “Supports Healthy Cholesterol Levels”
  • “Cylaris – World’s Strongest Weight-loss Formula”

ERSP agreed with Iovate that the two studies submitted on Cylaris’s primary ingredient Cissus quadrangularis provided a reasonable basis for its claim that Cylaris “contains proven, clinical- strength ingredients” and that  Cylaris is “clinically proven” to promote weight loss and “support healthy cholesterol levels.

Following its review of the evidence,   ERSP determined that the evidence  in the record, based on available  public research, did not support the claim that the product is the “World’s Strongest Weight-Loss Formula” in either the qualified or unqualified context in which it was presented.

ERSP determined  that the marketer’s use of the term “clinical breakthrough”  and the descriptor “doctor  formulated”   were   substantiated   by  the  evidence   in  the  record.   However,   ERSP determined that  the claim  that Cylaris  is “doctor  approved”   in the context of certain  product packages could be interpreted more broadly to a larger group of doctors who have recommended the product and that the marketer could not support the claim in such a context.

 With regard to the claim   “Lose 287% the weight compared to placebo,”   ERSP recommended that the marketer  use a less dramatic  comparative  statement  in future advertising and   make it clear to consumers that the accuracy  of a quantified claim is  lim ited to those subjects in a test group that share similar body mass index and weight characteristics as the subjects in the placebo group. ERSP noted in its decision that it did not dispute the literal accuracy  of the claim as it pertained to the group in the testing.

ERSP concluded that, on its face, the marketer’s testing supported the claim “Lose up to 32 lbs in 8 weeks” but cautioned that the claim being made by the marketer is arguably in contravention to a statement deemed misleading by the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flag Guide on weight- loss claims.

The company,  in its  marketer  statement,  said  it appreciates  ERSP’s  “careful  attention  to this matter and will continue to support ERSP’s efforts to promote truthful and accurate advertising of dietary supplements.”