BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Ranir Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims for ‘Abridge’ Cold-Sore Treatment

New York, NY – June 13, 2012 – The National Advertising Division Claims has recommended that Ranir, LLC, the maker of cold-sore treatment Abridge, modify or discontinue certain claims made for the product on its packaging, including claims related to speed of healing and “clinical strength.”

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

NAD opened an inquiry into Ranir’s claim following a challenge by Merix Pharmaceutical Corp., the maker Releev, a competing cold-sore treatment.

Claims at issue included:
• “…speeds the healing, relieving symptoms in just one day.”
• “Relieves symptoms in just 24 hours!”
• “Clinical Strength”

In support of its claims, the advertiser submitted a clinical study that included a total of 25 subjects, both male and female, ranging in age from 18 to 64 years old.  A registered nurse noted the location of the cold sore, measured it and assessed the cracking, fissuring and dryness on a scale of 4 (severe) to 0 (none).  Neither the subjects nor the nurses were aware that Ranir sponsored the study.

NAD noted in its decision several concerns regarding the design and execution of the clinical study submitted, including the absence of a control group, a materially fatal flaw in the advertiser’s testing.

NAD further noted that participants were instructed to apply the advertiser’s product five times daily, although the product calls for use three times daily, another serious flaw in the advertiser’s study.  NAD noted in its decision that it has consistently held that the most reliable measure of a product’s performance is demonstrated by tests designed to test the product in the same manner the product is directed to be used by consumers.

NAD determined that the advertiser’s evidence was insufficiently reliable to support its “24-hour,” and “speeds healing” claims, and recommended that the claims be discontinued.

Regarding the advertiser’s “clinical strength” claims, NAD concluded that, in the context in which this claim appeared, at least one of the messages conveyed was that the product has been clinically proven to perform as advertised with respect to its ability to speed healing and relieve symptoms in 24 hours (or just one day) – a message that was not supported by the evidence in the record.

NAD recommended that the advertiser modify its “Clinical Strength” claim to more accurately reflect its intended message – that the advertised product contains the “Maximum Strength (0.13%)” of benzalkonium chloride.

Finally, NAD noted that nothing in its decision precluded the advertiser from making a more limited claim regarding the beneficial properties of its product as a whole, consistent with the Food and Drug Administration monograph on cold-sore treatments.

Ranir, in its advertiser’s statement, said it is disappointed with NAD’s ultimate conclusions.
“Nevertheless,” the company said, “Ranir is committed to the self-regulatory process, and it will take NAD’s recommendations into account in its future advertising.”