BBB National Programs Archive

Schering-Plough, Novartis Participate In NAD Forum

New York, NY – June  19, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Schering-Plough Healthcare Products, Inc., modify certain claims for Lotrimin Ultra, a treatment for athlete’s foot. Television advertising claims for Lotrimin Ultra were challenged by Novartis Consumer Healthcare, Inc., the maker of Lamisil Defense, a competing product.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined advertising claims that included:

  • “Why live with athlete’s foot?  The itching, the burning.  Lotrimin Ultra treats most athlete’s foot in just one week’s use.”
  • “New Lamisil Defense, four long weeks.”
  • “Lotrimin Ultra is so powerful nothing cures faster.”
  • “Lotrimin Ultra, the one week killer cure.”

NAD noted in its decision that the commercial and the results of a consumer-perception survey offered by the challenger highlight an issue NAD has considered in prior athlete’s foot cases – whether consumers believe that the word “cure” refers to the elimination of the underlying fungus and the symptoms of athlete’s foot, or whether it refers only to the relief of symptoms.

In this case, NAD determined that the commercial’s text and visuals “link the treatment of athlete’s foot to the symptoms and convey to consumers that they can achieve relief from the itching and burning of athlete’s foot with Lotrimin Ultra in one week but need to wait four long weeks for the same relief with Lamisil Defense” when, in fact, all approved athlete’s foot products relieve athlete’s foot symptoms – itching, burning – within a week.

Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the performance and efficacy claims in the commercial (Lotrimin Ultra treats most athlete’s foot in just one week’s use; Lotrimin Ultra is so powerful that nothing cures faster) were appropriate, NAD recommended, however, that Schering-Plough modify its commercial to avoid conveying the unsupported message that Lotrimin Ultra provides faster relief from athlete’s foot symptoms than Lamisil Defense, though it may compare the length of the courses of treatment.