BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Prestige Discontinue Claim for Monistat ‘Stay Fresh’ Following Challenge by Church & Dwight

New York, NY – May 26, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Prestige Brands, Inc., the maker of Monistat Stay Fresh Gel, discontinue claims that the product eliminates vaginal odor “for 3 days with just one use.” The claims at issue were challenged by Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of RepHresh Vaginal Gel, a competing product.

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

The advertiser explained that the key ingredients in both its product and certain competing products is polycarbophil, a bioadhesive polymer that lowers vaginal pH. Prestige maintained that controlling vaginal pH eliminates odor by preventing the production of amines, organic compounds related to ammonia.  The odor of the amines which are produced in the vagina are known to increase at higher pH levels.  Prestige further explained that polycarbophil, a weak polyacid, is a large molecule that adheres to vaginal epithelial cells until they turn over – 3 to 5 days – which in turn maintains vaginal pH at levels that will eliminate unwanted odor. As support, it pointed to eight prior studies on polycarbophil, five of which are on a nearly identical formulation as used in Stay Fresh Gel, as well as its own home use survey which it argues provides support for its claim.

In this case, NAD determined that the claim that Stay Fresh Gel eliminates odor for three days with just one use, is a health-related product efficacy claim that “tells consumers that  … feminine odor will be gone shortly after their first application of this product and they will remain odor-free for three days.”

Further, NAD said, the claim “must be supported by reliable evidence that the product works as promised – that odor is eliminated shortly after the first application and will not return for three days.”

Prestige relied on several clinical studies and a home-use study, as well as an expert report, to support its claim. Following its review, NAD determined that the evidence in the record did not demonstrate a direct correlation between the normalization of pH and the elimination of odor.

NAD concluded that the advertiser failed to provide a reasonable basis for its claim “Eliminates odor for 3 days with just one use” and recommended that the claim be discontinued.

NAD noted, however, that nothing in its decision “prevents Prestige from making supported claims regarding the ability of Stay Fresh Gel to reduce vaginal pH, eliminate vaginal odor or that each application lasts for three days.”

Prestige, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company would comply with NAD’s decision.

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.