BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Chattem Discontinue ‘Twice As Fast’ Claim for Xyzal Following Challenge from Claritin Maker Bayer HealthCare

New York, NY – July 18, 2018 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Chattem, Inc., discontinue claims that the company’s Xyzal Allergy 24 HR product works “Twice as fast as Claritin” and provides “relief that starts at hour 1 instead of hour 2.”

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

The claims at issue were challenged by Bayer HealthCare LLC, maker of Claritin. Both Bayer’s Claritin and Chattem’s Xyzal are over-the-counter oral antihistamines approved by the Food and Drug Administration as allergy medications. The active ingredient in Claritin is loratadine; the active ingredient in Xyzal is levocetirizine.

Bayer argued that Chattem’s advertising makes powerful but false and misleading quantified comparative claims that Xyzal “works twice as fast as Claritin,” and that, in contrast to Claritin, Xyzal provides “relief that starts at hour 1 instead of hour 2.”

Chattem did not provide head-to-head testing of the parties’ products in support of its claims.  Chattem contended that its claims were supported, however, because NAD, in prior decisions involving advertising claims for Zyrtec and Allegra allergy relief medications, determined that studies presented as evidence in those cases showed Claritin’s onset of action to be three hours.

NAD, in its decision, noted that while it is true that NAD has reviewed numerous studies concerning onset of action in submitted in prior proceedings, NAD’s sole task in those cases was to determine whether the studies presented were sufficiently reliable to provide a reasonable basis for challenged onset-of-action advertising claims “under the factual and procedural circumstances presented in those cases.”

“To be clear, NAD did not make – and has not made – scientific ‘findings’ or ‘determinations’ as to the conclusiveness of clinical testing concerning the onset of action of Claritin for all purposes, under all circumstances, regardless of the comparative claims made. In each prior case, NAD reviewed specific advertising claims, in context, and whether the evidence offered to support (or dispute) those claims was sufficiently reliable,” NAD said.

NAD was not persuaded by the advertiser’s evidence that previously reviewed studies provided sufficient support for the unequivocal, quantified comparative performance claims at issue.

In opposition to the claims, the challenger relied on two studies that were submitted to demonstrate that when the active ingredients of the products are tested head-to-head, Xyzal is faster than Claritin, but not “twice as fast.”

Following its review, NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue the challenged claims.

Chattem, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while the company “strongly disagrees with NAD’s findings, Chattem will comply with NAD’s recommendation to discontinue its ‘twice as fast’ and ‘starts at hour 1 instead of hour 2’ claims.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.