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Posted April 24, 2023

FTC Warns Almost 700 Companies: Unsupported Health Claims May Result in Substantial Civil Penalties

On April 13, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notified approximately 670 companies that market over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, homeopathic products, dietary supplements, or functional foods that they could incur significant civil penalties if they make unsubstantiated claims about the products they sell.

According to the FTC, notices were distributed to companies “making or likely to make health claims,” including large distributors of dietary supplements such as Amazon and Costco, as well as many other supplement companies, although the agency emphasized that receipt of the notice “does not in any way suggest” that a company “has engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct.” (See the full list of the businesses that received the notice.)

The notice outlines practices that violate FTC law, and which could results in a civil penalty of up to $50,120 per violation, including:

  • Failing to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support health or safety claims; or claims that a product is effective in the cure, mitigation, or treatment of any serious disease,
  • Misrepresenting the level or type of substantiation for a claim, and
  • Misrepresenting that a product claim has been scientifically or clinically proven

Falsely claiming an endorsement by a third party or using an endorsement to make deceptive performance claims is also addressed, and the agency suggested recipients consult FTC staff’s Health Products Compliance Guidance, an advertising guide.

“The prospect of steep civil penalties will help ensure that advertisers don’t play fast and loose with the truth.” Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Sam Levine stated in the FTC’s press release about the notice.

For more information, use the link below.

FTC Warns Almost 700 Marketing Companies That They Could Face Civil Penalties if They Can’t Back Up Their Product Claims

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