Focus Consumer Healthcare Appeals National Advertising Division Recommendation to Discontinue Certain Pamprin Botanicals Claims
New York, NY – January 22, 2024 – In a challenge brought by Bayer Consumer Health, BBB National Programs’ National Advertising Division recommended that Focus Consumer Healthcare discontinue certain claims for its Pamprin Botanicals dietary supplement for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptom relief, including:
- All “clinically tested,” “scientifically tested,” “mood support,” “calm PMS symptoms,” “ease cramps, bloat and moodiness” and help consumers “experience a better period” claims; and
- Express and implied ingredient claims for ashwagandha, magnesium, vitamin B6, turmeric, and chasteberry.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) also recommended that Focus modify several express and implied claims that Pamprin Botanicals is natural. Regarding the name Pamprin Botanicals as well as Pamprin Botanicals’ “tried and trusted” claim, NAD concluded that no modification was necessary.
“Clinically Tested” and Other Health-Related Claims
In support of its “clinically tested” and health-related product performance claims, the advertiser relied on results of a clinical study using Pamprin over the counter (OTC) products and Pamprin Botanicals to reduce the severity of common menstrual cycle symptoms.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined the study had several significant flaws, which rendered it insufficiently reliable to provide a reasonable basis for Pamprin Botanical’s establishment and health-related claims.
Therefore, NAD recommended that Focus discontinue all “clinically tested,” “scientifically tested,” “mood support,” “calm PMS symptoms,” “ease cramps, bloat, and moodiness,” and help consumers “experience a better period” claims.
Bayer challenged five claims found on Pamprin Botanicals’ product packaging, website, and in Amazon tile advertising that call out specific ingredients and their consumer benefits.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) found the studies submitted by Focus in support of these claims was not a good fit. Therefore, NAD recommended that Focus discontinue:
- “Ashwagandha – a calming influence” as well as the implied claim that the ashwagandha in Pamprin Botanicals reduces PMS-related mood swings.
- “Magnesium – period pain, nope” and that Magnesium “works on period pain” as well as the implied claim that magnesium in Pamprin Botanicals reduces pain associated with PMS.
- “Vitamin B6 – pms less, chill more” as well as the implied claim that the vitamin B6 in Pamprin Botanicals reduces all PMS symptoms, including mood swings.
- “Turmeric – cramp pain & puff” and “helps cramps and puffiness” as well as the implied claim that the turmeric in Pamprin Botanicals reduces PMS-related pain and bloating.
- “Chasteberry – for a better period” claims as well as the implied claim that the chasteberry in Pamprin Botanicals reduces PMS symptoms.
“Natural” and Related Claims
The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined one message reasonably conveyed by Focus’ “naturally good-for-you ingredients” claim is that the listed ingredients are natural. In the absence of evidence supporting this message, NAD recommended Focus modify its advertising to remove the claim and avoid conveying the message that Pamprin Botanicals’ active ingredients are all-natural.
NAD concluded that the name Pamprin Botanicals did not require modification given the lack of evidence of consumer confusion and NAD’s conclusion that “botanical” is not an expressly false claim.
NAD found that one message reasonably conveyed by an Amazon product tile stating “all the good stuff, none of the bad” and touting six attributes of Pamprin Botanicals (i.e. “gluten-free”) is that these attributes are the “good stuff” and any products that are not free of these attributes are “bad” or unhealthy. NAD recommended that Focus modify the claim to avoid conveying the message that competing products include ingredients that are unsafe or unhealthy.
“Tried and Trusted”
The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that, in context, the “tried and trusted” claim that appeared on the Amazon product tile refers to Pamprin’s history and that no modification was necessary.
Claims Pamprin’s Products Work Together
The National Advertising Division (NAD) determined that the message reasonably conveyed by the Amazon product description and tiles is that Pamprin Botanicals and Pamprin OTC products work together to provide superior relief for PMS symptoms. Since NAD found that the study did not meet the standard for competent and reliable scientific evidence, it concluded that Focus did not provide reliable substantiation for this implied claim. Therefore, NAD recommended that Focus modify its advertising to avoid conveying such a message.
In its advertiser statement, Focus stated that it will appeal NAD’s decision because it believes that is “incorrectly based on a rigid substantiation standard applicable to prescription drugs . . . that is not and has never been the standard for dietary supplement claims.”
Appeals of NAD decisions are made to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate-level truth-in-advertising body of BBB National Programs.
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