TINA.org Complaints Spur Changes to Supplement’s Marketing

October 7th, 2013

After TINA.org filed deceptive advertising complaints, the maker of a dietary supplement aimed at children with speech delays has made positive changes to its website and is in the process of amending its product packaging.

TINA.org notified the company that it has withdrawn its complaints to state and federal regulators.

In March, TINA.org filed its complaints about NourishLife’s marketing of SpeechNutrients speak™ (“Speak”) after a months-long investigation of the company revealed a number of deceptive marketing issues. Complaint letters were sent to the company, the Attorney General of Illinois (where NourishLife is based), the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In August, the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division also investigated the company’s practices.

Since the complaints, NourishLife has made changes to its website that address the deceptive marketing issues identified in TINA.org’s complaints, including claims that its formula was “patented” when it wasn’t, that the supplement could cure or treat childhood speech delays without appropriate scientific support, and that its ingredients were pharmaceutical grade when there is no such thing. The company has also inactivated another website it owns – ApraxiaResearch.com – that previously posed as an independent resource for information on childhood speech delays without disclosing that it was created and owned by NourishLife.

The company has also confirmed that it is in the process of making changes to its product packaging and print brochures to reflect the website changes.

“This is a victory for consumers,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “We are pleased this company took appropriate action to stop its deceptive marketing that preyed on the emotions of concerned parents. It is critical that parents of children with speech delays know the full truth about a product they are giving their kids.”

During its investigation, TINA.org also found that Speak contains a highly elevated level of vitamin E that exceeds the tolerable upper intake level set by the Food and Nutrition Board. It alerted the FDA and has not withdrawn that portion of its complaint.

TINA.org’s efforts on stopping the deceptive marketing of Speak also garnered results in Europe. In June, prompted by a complaint from TINA.org, the Civil da Autodisciplina da Publicidade of Portugal (ICAP) ruled that Portugal-based ANEID Pharmaceutical Products can’t claim in its marketing of Speak that the product improves speech or that it was patented.

The NourishLife complaints were the first filed by TINA.org, which has since taken action against a Washington State-based company operating an illegal pyramid scheme, and has opened investigations into a wide variety of false and misleading advertising by companies across the nation. Its investigations have been cited in several publications including Consumer Reports and The New York Post.

More information about TINA.org’s efforts regarding Speak can be found here.

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