Substantiation for Advertising Claims
Companies making claims about the efficacy of their products must have a reasonable basis for those claims. The claims must be supported prior to publishing of the advertising claim. This is called "substantiation." It has long been a requirement for advertising claims, but has gained more notice in the dynamic world of online advertising.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its Policy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation in 1984, which outlined the FTC's view about the requirement for substantiation of advertising claims. Any objective claim about a product represents that the advertiser has a reasonable basis to support that claim. Advertising about health and safety products commonly make these types of claims, and consequently are more likely to be subjected to scrutiny by the FTC. For instance, an advertisement for a green bean supplement might claim that users "lose an average of 15 pounds after taking the supplement for one month." This would be a claim about the efficacy of the supplement. The claim would have to be substantiated. It would have to be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. An advertiser's failure to possess prior substantiation for its advertising claims constitutes an unfair and deceptive act or practice in violation of the FTC Act.
Companies advertising supplements and other products that provide health benefits must be careful with meeting the substantiation requirements. It is very easy to exceed the conclusions found in studies and other scientific evidence when developing advertising for the product. If you are in need of assistance in meeting the substantiation claims, please feel free to contact Harmony Law for assistance.