Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission jointly sent warning letters to three companies who are marketing dietary supplements as treatment for Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses.  

The letters, which were sent to Gold Crown Natural Products, TEK Naturals, and Pure Nootropics, instructed the companies to contact the the FDA and the FTC within fifteen days regarding the actions that the companies have taken to address the agencies' concerns.  

In their letter to TEK Naturals, for example, the FDA and the FTC expressed concerns that not only were the company's dietary supplements being improperly marketed as drugs, the company's efficacy claims were not properly substantiated with competent and reliable scientific evidence.  They regulators pointed to claims on the company's website and social media channels that the supplements could treat heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, obesity, Alzheimer's, and other conditions.

The letter to Pure Nootropics and the letter to Gold Crown Natural Products raised similar concerns.  

What does this action mean for advertisers?  The FTC's blog highlighted three important take-aways:

  • If you're going to make disease claims, you'd better have competent and reliable scientific evidence
  • Products that advertise as a cure-all for a broad range of diseases often turn out to cure nothing, and advertising for those products is more likely to attract the interest of law enforcement; and
  • Challenging deceptive health claims continues to be a top priority.