National Advertising Review Board Finds Sanofi’s “#1 Doctor Recommended Ingredient” Claims for Zantac 360° Unsubstantiated
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New York, NY – November 2, 2022 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising law body of BBB National Programs, recommended that Sanofi Consumer Healthcare not use claims that:
- Zantac 360° contains, or that famotidine is, “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient;” or
- Zantac 360° contains, or that famotidine is, “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient among H2 Blockers.”
Related advertising claims had been challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., manufacturer of the competing Pepcid products. Following NAD’s decision ( Case No. 7088), Sanofi appealed NAD’s finding that it did not have proper support for the claim that famotidine is “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient (among H2 blockers).”
The parties manufacture and market leading brands of OTC heartburn medication containing Histamine-2 (H2) Blockers. In 2020, Sanofi introduced Zantac 360°, an H2 blocker formulated with the active ingredient famotidine – the same active ingredient used in the challenger’s Pepcid products.
As support for a doctor-recommended ingredient claim, Sanofi relied on the results of IQVIA survey data that recorded the number and percentage of physicians’ average weekly recommendations in the acid reducer category, a category that includes store/generic brands as well as branded products.
In agreement with NAD, the NARB panel determined that the IQVIA data relied on by Sanofi is not a good fit for the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient claim because:
- The IQVIA survey was a brand/product survey, and therefore did not ask directly about ingredient preferences or recommendations; and
- In context, the responses concerning generic recommendations cannot be considered independently because the responses indicating brand recommendations could have impacted or influenced generic responses, or vice-versa.
Sanofi stated that it “will comply with the NARB's decision and thanks the NARB for its attention to this matter.” Sanofi further stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the NARB's ruling that the IQVIA survey did not provide a reasonable basis to make an unqualified claim that famotidine is the #1 doctor recommended ingredient among H2 blockers, given that famotidine is overwhelmingly the #1 doctor recommended H2 blocker whether looking at branded or generic acid reducer recommendations.” The advertiser further stated that it was disappointed that the process did not provide clarity on its proposed modified claim.
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