BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Examines Advertising For Hepcare’s Hepzone SST
New York, NY – Dec. 17, 2008 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Hepcare, Inc., discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s Hepzone SST dietary supplement, including the claim that the product is “especially useful for consumers who have failed conventional liver care.”
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined advertising for Hepzone SST pursuant to NAD’s ongoing monitoring of advertising in the dietary supplements marketplace and in conjunction with an initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
Claims at issue in NAD’s inquiry included:
- “Used for liver support by thousands of US consumers and millions in Japan.”
- “Successfully used by more than 1.5 million people for liver health in Japan.”
- “Supports healthy liver function.”
- “Pharmaceutical grade product to ensure highest quality.”
- “Especially useful for consumers who failed conventional liver care.”
- “In Phase II clinical trials in New York and San Diego.”
At the outset, the advertiser noted that Sho-saiko-to (SST), an herbal mixture, is part of the Kampo medicine system, a standardized practice of herbal formulations, based on traditional Chinese medicine but utilizing a more rigorous standard of testing.
Following its review of the evidence, NAD found that the advertiser provided support for certain limited claims regarding the liver benefits of SST, including, “Used for liver support by thousands of US consumers and millions in Japan.” and “Supports healthy liver function.”
NAD recommended, however, that the advertiser discontinue the unsupported claim that SST has been “Successfully used by more than 1.5 million people for liver health in Japan.”
Further, NAD found that the advertiser’s evidence was insufficient to support the claim that SST is “Especially useful for consumers who failed conventional liver care.” and recommended that it be discontinued.
NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim that SST is a “Pharmaceutical grade product to ensure highest quality” to more accurately convey the message that HepZone SST is manufactured to be equivalent to what is sold as a prescription pharmaceutical grade SST prescription product in Japan.
Finally, NAD determined that the claim that SST is “In Phase II clinical trials in New York and San Diego” conveys the inaccurate message that the study has yielded positive results, and recommended that it be modified to clearly disclose that the tests have not been completed and the final results are not yet known.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it has “agreed to make every effort to comply with … NAD’s self-regulatory guidance. We will also make certain clarifications and/or modifications to those expressed claims in which NAD recommended, in order to assure truth and accuracy in the marketplace.”