Anxiety claims enforcement up 95% in 2021

Remove “anxiety” on all marketing platforms

Anxiety claims enforcement up 95% in 2021

#WarningLetterWednesday reviews the increase in anxiety claims enforcement. In 2021 there was 40 anxiety-related product FDA warning letters, a 95% increase over 2020 (21), which is a clear sign of the FDA’s enforcement priorities.


Here is a breakdown of the 2021 anxiety warning letters.


*75% (30) include both anxiety and depression. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone following enforcement trends, as the FDA sent ten anxiety/depression letters last February. I write about this here


*45% (22) include claims made on social media. I would have guessed this number would be higher.


*10% (4) include hashtag claims, and 25% (10) include claims made in testimonials. I expect warning letters with hashtag claims and testimonial claims to increase, which is an enforcement trend to watch.


*All 2021 letters also include higher-risk disease words such as hypertension except for one that involved a drug spiked product (sibutramine). The FDA looks at a company’s complete online presence. One claim may not attract a warning letter, but, for example, claims made on social media, YouTube, Amazon, and blogs are pieced together for one big picture of noncompliance.


*It is worth noting the 2021 warning letters did not include the term “occasional anxiousness,” which is, if substantiated, often considered not to be a disease claim.


Anxiety is considered a 3.5 of 5 on the “Asa Risk Scale” and should not be used. If truthful and substantiated lower risk alternatives are:

*happy mood support

*balanced state of mind

*mental resilience

*support when things get overwhelming

*helps support smiles

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