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:
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:
“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 which 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.
All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive. This press release shall not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.
About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs, a non-profit organization, is the home of U.S. independent industry self-regulation, currently operating more than a dozen globally recognized programs that have been helping enhance consumer trust in business for more than 50 years. These programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services that address existing and emerging industry issues, create a fairer playing field for businesses, and a better experience for consumers. BBB National Programs continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-and-teen-directed marketing, data privacy, dispute resolution, automobile warranty, technology, and emerging areas. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. The National Advertising Division reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.
Name: Jennie Rosenberg
Job Title: Media Relations