FTC on the prowl for overstated dietary supplement claims


The Federal Trade Commission told the US Senate that if a manufacturer of a dietary supplement is going to make a claim about his product’s benefits in an advertisement or in some other form, it had best be backed by “solid scientific evidence.” Otherwise, it could be facing FTC action.

FTC notes that the supplement business brings in some $25B annually, and has been a growth industry during the downturn, since many Americans have been trying to use them in the act of taking health matters into their own hands, rather than spending on more expensive alternatives.

“[M]arket analysts suggest that the downturn in the economy has actually led to increased spending on supplements as consumers attempt to manage their own healthcare and avoid expensive doctor visits and prescription medications. Given this trend, it is more critical than ever that the Commission work to ensure that consumers are getting truthful and accurate information, backed by solid scientific evidence, about dietary supplements.”

FTC says it has acted on more than 100 occasions during the past ten years to rein in companies making questionable claims about “…cold and flu products, weight-loss products, and supplements purported to treat serious diseases, including cancer and AIDS,” among other things.