BEWARE OF DR. FRANK’S JOINT PAIN RELIEF’ FOR DOGS & CATS
False Claims for Homeopathic Pet Remedy
August 2008: The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business
A bureau has recommended that Dr. Franks, which manufactures a wide range of homeopathic remedies, modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for “Dr. Frank’s Joint Pain Relief for Dogs and Cats.”
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined the claims and recommended discontinuing them.
NAD reviewed a wide range of advertising claims for the product, including claims made in broadcast and Internet advertising. Claims at issue in the broadcast advertising included:
• “You spray, your pet drinks, and the pain stops everywhere – it’s that simple.”
• “Never before have these nine homeopathic ingredients been combined to stop inflammation,
pain and stiffness.”
• “Now with Dr. Frank’s spray, you can stop their suffering … stop your pet’s pain.”
• “I’m Dr. Ken Frank and I guarantee that if you spray this natural and safe formula in your
pet’s water bowl daily – it will stop the pain.”
• “You spray, your pet drinks, and they live pain free.”
• “… spray away your pet’s pain in days … put an end to your pet’s pain.”
Website claims included:
• “Dr. Frank’s Joint Pain Relief for Dogs & Cats is specially formulated to stop joint pain.”
• “Relieves mild to [severe] chronic joint and muscle pain.”
• “Works for all joint pain – no matter what the cause.”
• “stops the pain of your dog or cat …watch them run up the stairs, run on the beach and stop
In reaching its decision, NAD considered the advertiser’s position that the claims at issue identify the product as a homeopathic remedy and specify that the claims are based on homeopathic research, thereby creating an expectation in consumers that the type of research and evidence supporting the product is homeopathic in nature.
NAD determined, however, that the claims at issue do not adequately inform consumers that the product is a homeopathic remedy or provide consumers with information about the meaning of “homeopathic.”
NAD noted that the record did not include evidence that would demonstrate consumers distinguish between homeopathic and allopathic research and remedies.
NAD has consistently held that the nature and extent of claims made by an advertiser should mirror the precision and specificity of the data relied on as substantiation. In this case, NAD determined that the evidence in the record did not support the advertiser’ specific performance and efficacy claims, and recommended the claims at issue be discontinued.
NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the testimonials containing product performance claims, as they appear on its Website.
NAD further concluded that, under the circumstances of this case, “an historical or traditional use” claim would not be appropriate for the advertised homeopathic product and the specific performance and efficacy claims presented.
Finally, NAD noted its appreciation for the advertiser’s voluntary and permanent discontinuation of the claim “Doctor Recommended,” a change reflected on the product packaging depicted at the advertiser’s Website. However, NAD observed that the product packaging has not been replaced on all pages of the site and recommended that the advertiser continue its efforts to ensure that this modification is made consistently throughout the site.
In its advertiser’s statement, the company noted that while it “intends to work to modify its
advertising to comport with NAD’s recommendations, it strenuously disagrees with the decision.”
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