The FTC Act Requires Substantiation
Under the FTC Act, it is unlawful to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless the advertiser possesses competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made. The FTC’s recent letters to CBD companies called out the following examples of claims that require substantiation:
- “CBD ‘works like magic’ to relieve ‘even the most agonizing pain’ better than prescription opioid painkillers.”
- “CBD has been ‘clinically proven’ to treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), fibromyalgia, cigarette addiction, and colitis, the company states it has participated in ‘thousands of hours of research’ with Harvard researchers.”
- “CBD products are proven to treat autism, anorexia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), stroke, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, MS, fibromyalgia, cancer, and AIDS.”
- “CBD gummies [are] highly effective at treating ‘the root cause of most major degenerative diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, asthma, and a wide spectrum of autoimmune disorders.’”
- CBD health-related claims require substantiation. Advertising that CBD products can prevent, treat, or cure human disease requires competent and reliable scientific evidence to support such claims.
- Clients must now seek FTC counsel, in addition to FDA counsel, to assure their claims are substantiated as required by the FTC’s consumer protection laws.
- The FTC is signaling that it is willing to act independently and enforce the consumer protection laws governing health-related advertising..