January 11th, 2018
It all started with a challenge to TheraBreath’s advertising to NAD by pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, marketer of competing Biotene brand oral care products (wow, that’s a mouthful). Among the challenged claims on product packaging for TheraBreath oral rinse and TheraBreath lozenges (pictured):
- “Helps relieve dry mouth symptoms”
- “Helps to sooth (sic) and moisturize a dry mouth”
- “[Created to] help patients with discomfort associated with dry mouth”
- “Contains a gentle plant-derived mouth-watering natural salivary enhancer that tinges and moisturizes the mouth”
- “[N]atural salivary enhancer”
In its inquiry NAD took issue with how Dr. Katz substantiated these claims, in addition to others, with “consumer-use surveys” and studies on certain ingredients that NAD said weren’t up to snuff. For one thing, NAD said, the surveys failed “to properly determine whether survey respondents displayed symptoms of dry mouth.” And in regard to the ingredient studies:
NAD determined the advertiser did not submit sufficient evidence that the products at issue in the ingredient studies it provided had active ingredients in the same dosage and formulation as TheraBreath products.
NAD recommended that Dr. Katz discontinue the claims outlined above — a decision that Katz said it would appeal to the National Advertising Review Board.
Find more of our coverage on oral care products here.
The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.