FDA and FTC Continue Joint Actions Against Dietary Supplements

October 13, 2010

By Ricardo Carvajal

Last October, we noted that FDA and FTC issued a joint warning letter to an internet marketer of a dietary supplement promoted as helpful in preventing swine flu, seasonal flu, and colds. That letter was one of several that targeted similar products as part of FDA’s Flu Task Force.  Now the two agencies appear to be extending the strategy to target supplements marketed for other diseases.  A recent warning letter challenges the marketing of supplements for the treatment of herpes, epilepsy, diabetes, and venereal diseases. 

Of interest to those who have been following recent developments on the subject of what constitutes adequate substantiation, the letter includes the following carefully worded statement: “[I]t is unlawful under the FTC Act. . . to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless you possess competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made” (emphasis added).