Posted January 18, 2013

FTC Upholds Ruling, POM Wonderful Health Claims Were Deceptive

On January 16, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it will uphold a judge’s ruling that makers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements made deceptive and unsubstantiated claims that the products could treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction.

The claims appeared on POM Wonderful labels, websites such as pomegranatetruth.com, pomwonderful.com, and pompills.com, and in advertisements in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Fitness, Parade, Prevention and other publications.

As reported by ConsumerLab.com in 2010, the FTC’s original complaint against POM Wonderful LLC, its sister corporation Roll Global LLC, and principals Stewart Resnick, Lynda Resnick, and Matthew Tupper suggested the studies used to support the company’s claims were inadequate, showing no benefit for heart disease, no benefit over placebo for prostate cancer, and lacking proper blinding and controls in the erectile dysfunction study.

POM Wonderful representatives argued that the judge’s decision violates their First Amendment right to free speech and Fifth Amendment right to due process; however, the Commission disagreed, explaining its position in an official Opinion (see page 40).

The FTC’s final order requires reliable scientific evidence to support claims about the “health benefits, performance, or efficacy” of any food, drug, or dietary supplement and prohibits POM Wonderful from making any claim that a food, drug, or dietary supplement is “effective in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease,” unless the claim is supported by two randomized, well-controlled, human clinical trials. It also forbids any misrepresentation of tests, studies and research.

POM Wonderful may file a petition within 60 days to request a review of the FTC’s Opinion and Final Order.

See ConsumerLab.com’s Review Article on Pomegranate Juice and Supplements for more information about this product.

For more information about the FTC’s decision, use the link below.