Discussing Ingredient Benefits Leads To Warning Letter
Hashtags elevate marketing risk
In the eyes of FDA, discussing product ingredients is a marketing claim, even if there is no direct cross-linking to a product page or shopping cart. This is a common mistake and a good reminder for companies to re-review their websites.
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👉From warning letter. "On the … Health & Wellness page in the linked article titled: "WHAT IS CALCIUM? | CALCIUM BENEFITS” “[C]alcium supplements are tied to several health benefits including…lowering the risk of colon cancer…”
🔷This is obviously high risk, but it shows how an inexperienced and probably well-intentioned marketer can attract serious agency action. This is one of the reasons I write Warning Letter Wednesday, to help companies get into compliance before they get into trouble.
👉From warning letter. (Facebook) "What happens if a child doesn't get enough calcium?...Kids who don't get enough calcium will have increased risk of bone fractures, not able to reach potential height, and osteoporosis later in life….#dcal #dcalkids"
🔷Adding a product name in a hashtag significantly elevated the likelihood of scrutiny as it correlates the product to the claims in the post.
🔷Here is an example of when hair loss statements cross the line into disease claim category. By removing "alopecia," this would reduce the likelihood of FDA action. This is only the third FDA warning letter to mention "hair loss" claims in the past three years, and all letters included high-risk words. Even though "hair loss" statements are not top of mind for FDA, they are likely to be scrutinized by FDA, NAD, or plaintiff attorneys. Read more about NAD here.
👉From warning letter. "Do I need calcium for hair growth?... Low levels of vitamin D are associated with alopecia or hair loss. Adding vitamin D and calcium supplements may help create new hair follicles, which can play a role in hair growth."
Read the full warning letter here.
Disclaimer: The educational information provided here is for informational purposes only. Contact an attorney for specific legal advice. Rule #1 in compliance is to ensure marketing is truthful and not misleading.