BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Bayer Discontinue Certain Claims for Citracal SR Following Challenge by Pfizer

New York, NY – July 11,  2012 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Bayer Healthcare discontinue certain claims for its Citracal Slow Release 1200 once-daily calcium supplement, including claims that state or imply that one dose of Citracal SR provides the same level of calcium as competing calcium supplements that require two daily doses.

Express and implied claims for Citracal SR were challenged before NAD by Pfizer Inc., a competing manufacturer of calcium supplements. The claims at issue appeared on product packaging, print, the Bayer website and broadcast.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD, in its decision, noted that Bayer launched Citracal SR, an extended release calcium supplement, in 2011. Citracal SR is the first, and currently the only, calcium supplement to offer 1200 mg of calcium with a recommended once-daily dosing.

NAD noted that competing calcium supplements recommend twice daily dosing with 500-600 milligrams of elemental calcium.  Further, NAD noted, it is undisputed that consumers often fail to take the second recommended dose. Therefore, Citracal SR’s claim that one can receive the entire 1200 milligrams of calcium in just one daily dose is important to consumers who want to take the recommended daily dosage but would prefer to take only one pill a day.

Pfizer challenged both express and implied claims that a single dose of Citracal SR provided continuous, efficient absorption of 1200 milligrams of calcium, or that a single dose of Citracal SR provided an equivalent (or greater) amount of calcium as compared to the current standard two daily doses of competing calcium supplements.

Key to NAD’s decision was its analysis of the advertiser’s supporting evidence, particularly its Pharmacokinetic  (PK) Study. Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence was not sufficiently reliable to support its claims.

NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue all claims that state or imply that one dose of Citracal SR provides the same level of calcium (or more) as competing calcium supplements that require two daily doses including:

• “NEW Breakthrough for Unsurpassed Absorption”
• “Efficient calcium absorption in just one daily dose…”
• “[Y]ou only have to take it once per day for your full daily dose.”
• “It’s the only one that uses new technology to deliver a slow, steady release of calcium plus D for continuous absorption in one daily dose – and doctors agree this is the most effective method of absorption.”
• A bar chart that implied superior calcium absorption for Citracal SR.

With respect to the product name, Citracal Slow Release 1200, NAD noted that, absent extrinsic evidence demonstrating that consumers are misled by the product name, NAD is reluctant to recommend that an advertiser change the name of its product based solely on the challenger’s speculation that the product name is misleading.

Bayer HealthCare, in its advertiser’s statement, said it disagreed with NAD’s conclusion “that the results of the pharmacokinetic trial and other scientific data are not sufficient to substantiate the parity claims in issue, but in keeping with its commitment to the self-regulatory process, Bayer will take NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.”