Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez issued the following statement in response to a ruling today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the FTC’s deceptive advertising case against POM Wonderful, its parent company, and its principals.
“Today’s decision by the D.C. Circuit is a victory for consumers. It is in keeping with established law that advertisers who market products for serious health conditions must have rigorous science to back up those claims. The court specifically recognized that this applies to food and dietary supplement marketers such as POM. It also held that requiring a randomized, well-controlled human clinical study for future disease benefit claims is an appropriate remedy based on POM’s conduct.”
The D.C. Circuit affirmed a January 2013 FTC decision that the marketers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements deceptively advertised that the products could treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, and were clinically proven to have such benefits. The court did not uphold the FTC order requirement for two randomized well controlled human clinical trials by POM. However, the court did affirm the FTC’s order requiring POM to have at least one such study before making disease prevention or treatment claims and held out the possibility that two might be warranted in other cases.
POM Wonderful filed an appeal with the court in March 2013, challenging the Commission’s January 2013 decision and order, which found that the POM marketers had made deceptive claims in 36 advertisements and promotional materials for the pomegranate juice and supplements. The Commission issued a final order requiring POM’s future disease treatment and prevention claims to be supported by at least two randomized well-controlled human clinical trials, and other health benefit claims to be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
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