This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

FTC Action Forces Advertiser to Withdraw Claims Regarding Efficacy of Herbal Opioid Cure

The FTC has settled charges against the sellers of the herbal remedies “Withdrawal Ease” and “Recovery Ease,” which claimed to alleviate symptoms of opioid addiction. According to the complaint, Catlin Enterprises and the founder/CEO claimed their products significantly increased the likelihood of a person overcoming opiate dependency. The FTC’s complaint alleged that these claims were unfair and deceptive and were unsubstantiated by clinical studies. The defendants also allegedly misrepresented that clinical studies proved Withdrawal Ease’s effectiveness.

Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from making any representations that their products are effective in alleviating the symptoms of opiate addiction, withdrawal or other health conditions unless they possess randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled human clinical testing. This requirement extends to the use of the product names “Withdrawal Ease” and “Recovery Ease.” Additionally, the defendants are subject to 10 years of compliance reporting and recordkeeping, and a $6,644,013 judgment, which has been suspended due to their inability to pay.

NAD Calls Out Fiberglass Association for Improperly Promoting Self-Regulatory Decision

The NAD determined that the North American Insulation Manufacturers’ Association (“NAIMA”) violated the principles and procedures of the advertising industry’s self-regulation system.

Under the NAD’s rules, parties to a self-regulatory matter may not use the outcome of the case for promotional purposes. This is meant to encourage parties to participate in the self-regulation process.

NAIMA represents manufacturers of fiberglass insulation products. Previously, NAIMA challenged certain advertising claims made by Applegate Insulation, which makes cellulose insulation products. After the NAD released its June 2016 decision, NAIMA commissioned several articles promoting fiberglass insulation that cited the NAD decision.