BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Refers Advertising For PatentHealth’s “Trigosamine” To FTC For Further Review

New York, New York – March 14,  2011– The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has referred advertising for the dietary supplement Trigosamine Fast Acting (Trigo FA) to the Federal Trade Commission for further review.

The product is manufactured PatentHEALTH LLC.

The referral follows an initial NAD decision, a ruling from the National Advertising Review Board and complaints from Nutramax Laboratories, which initially challenged PatentHEALTH’s claims. The claims appeared in advertising formatted to resemble a news story.

NAD concluded that the new Trigosamine advertorials make substantially the same claims in substantially the same manner, as the advertisements that were the subject of the original NAD review. Specifically, the subheadline of the new Trigosamine advertorials claims:

  • “Clinical trial; participants began to feel noticeable results in just days.”

 In addition, the advertising included the claims:

  • “Imagine a pill that can start helping you get around more easily in just a matter of days.”
  • “Our goal was to formulate Trigosamine so that people would start to feel results quickly”
  • “81% of the participants started feeling better just days after taking the recommended dosage,”
  • “100% reported their joints felt better just midway through the 8 week clinical trial.” 
  • “During the very first week 83% of the participants taking Fast Acting Trigosamine reported that their joints were already starting to feel better”

This “fast relief” message is further compounded by the name of the product itself, “Fast Acting Trigosamine.”

(Full text of decision available to media upon request.)

In its initial decision, NAD found that the advertiser’s “speed” claims, based on a “Six Minute Walk test” during a single clinical study, were not supported by the results of that study.

NAD  recommended that the advertiser discontinue all claims based on the results of Six Minute Walk test as measured at 3 Days, discontinue using the term “rapid relief,” and discontinue all claims that compared the performance of Trigosamine Fast Acting to glucosamine supplementation alone. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its unsupported claim, “2 caplet dose for fast … joint relief.” and noted that PatentHEALTH’s discontinuance of the claim “It’s a blend of herbal extracts that when combined with glucosamine improves absorption of nutrients and works quickly to improve mobility and flexibility.” was a necessary and proper action.

NAD also addressed the advertorial format of advertising for Trigosamine Fast Acting and recommended the advertiser take additional steps to make it clear that what consumers were seeing was advertising, not news.

PatentHEALTH accepted portions of the NAD decision and stated it would discontinue claims that included speed-of-action claims, direct glucosamine comparison claims and claims that the product, when combined with glucosamine, “improves absorption of nutrients and works quickly to improve mobility and flexibility.”

PatentHEALTH, however, believed that its study supported a claim of results in as few as three days of beginning supplementation and sought the NARB’s review of this claim, as well as NARB position on its advertorial. NARB upheld NAD’s decision in both respects.

NAD opened two compliance reviews of advertising for the product in August 2010 and again in January 2011, following complaints from the original challenger in the case.

Although NAD noted that the advertiser implemented some of the changes recommended by both NAD and NARB, recently published advertising contained many of the same claims, presented in the same advertorial format.

The current advertising, NAD noted in its compliance decision, disregards “the spirit and the letter of both the NAD and NARB decisions. Accordingly, since the advertiser has not made a bona fide attempt to bring its advertising into compliance with the recommendations in the NAD or NARB decision, NAD [has] concluded that the self-regulatory process has been exhausted and is referring the matter to the FTC for possible enforcement action.”