BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Refers Advertising For ‘SunPill’ To FTC

New York, NY – May 10, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus will refer advertising made by Pure Pharmaceuticals, LLC for its Sunpill product to the Federal Trade Commission for possible law enforcement action following the company’s refusal to comply with certain recommendations in an earlier NAD decision.

NAD compliance review of Sunpill advertising stems from a monitoring case in which NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, requested substantiation for certain performance and establishment claims made in Internet advertising and product packaging.

Claims at issue included:

  • “The World’s First & Only Sunpill Specifically Designed for Sun Protection”
  • “Dermatologist Tested and Recommended”
  • “For maximum sun protection, ALWAYS take Sunpill”
  • “Sunpill was specifically designed to help defend your skin from the effects of the sun”; “Scientists say Sunpill could impact human skin and sun health more than any products in a decade!”;
  • “The ingredients in Sunpill have been clinically proven to be safe and effective”
  • “Supports your bodies systems that defend the skin against the effects of the sun.”

In its initial decision, NAD determined that the claim “Sunpill was specifically designed to help defend your skin from the effects of the sun” was substantiated but recommended that the claim “The World’s First & Only Sunpill Specifically Designed for Sun Protection” be discontinued.  NAD further recommended that the claim “For maximum sun protection, ALWAYS take Sunpill” be discontinued based on the lack of evidence that Sunpill can be a substitute for sunscreen. NAD recommended that the claims “Sunpill is always there working and providing support for your skin’s ability to defend itself against the sun” and “Take Sunpill everyday to help support against photo-aging and sun damaged skin” be modified to clearly and conspicuously disclose that Sunpill should always be used in conjunction with sunscreen in order to avoid conveying the message that sunscreen is unnecessary, does not provide adequate protection against the sun or that Sunpill is the first line of defense in sun protection. 

NAD recommended that in future advertising, the advertiser discontinue its comparative claim that, unlike sunscreen, Sunpill need not be reapplied to avoid conveying the message that Sunpill is preferable to sunscreen.  NAD further recommended that the reference to “During prolonged sun exposure, take two tablets” be discontinued due to lack of clinical testing indicating the need to take the product twice daily in the event of prolonged sun exposure.

NAD further recommended the advertiser modify certain product performance claims to make clear that Sunpill has the potential to reduce UV-induced erythema   Finally, NAD recommended that claims referencing “dermatologist tested,” “scientists say,” and “clinically proven” be discontinued.  NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for the claim “Sunpill is manufactured in an FDA-inspected facility operating under strict Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).”

NAD contacted the advertiser in late March to raise concerns about challenged claims that continued to appear on the company’s Website and the advertiser responded by providing a list of changes made to the advertising.

Despite the changes, which included new disclosures, NAD remained concerned that the advertising continues to convey the message that “sunscreen is unnecessary, does not provide adequate protection against the sun or that Sunpill is the first line of defense in sun protection” because the disclosures, in certain instances, contradict the claims they are intended to qualify and, in other instances, are not in close proximity to the underlying claims. Moreover, NAD recommended that the claims “during prolonged sun exposure, take two tablets,” “For maximum sun protection, ALWAYS take Sunpill” and “Scientists say Sunpill could impact human skin and sun health more than any product in a decade!” be immediately discontinued as recommended in its underlying decision.

In its response, the advertiser stated that it respectfully disagrees with NAD’s recommendations as to the claims recommended that the claims “during prolonged sun exposure, take two tablets,” “For maximum sun protection, ALWAYS take Sunpill” and “Scientists say Sunpill could impact human skin and sun health more than any product in a decade!”  Based on the advertiser’s unwillingness to undertake NAD’s additional requested modifications, NAD will refer the matter to the appropriate governmental agency for possible law enforcement action pursuant to NAD/NARB Procedures.