Pfizer takes issue with Little Remedies
The National Advertising Division, which is part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, recommended that the over-the-counter drug manufacturer Prestige Brands modify some of the claims it made for its Honey Pops and its Honey Cough Syrup.
NAD's decision followed a complaint filed by drugmaker Pfizer. Pfizer's OTC portfolio includes the Dimetapp cough and cold line. The NAD monitors advertising for accuracy and also resolves disputes submitted by industry members.
The complaint said that Pfizer told NAD that Prestige's product copy made claims that “competent and reliable scientific evidence” could not support. It also said that Prestige's copy for the line of cough products did not distinguish between its honey products and its other Little Remedies OTC drug products. The complaint said this lack of distinction deceived consumers into thinking OTC product claims also applied to the honey products and are therefore associated these products with what Pfizer described as having “drug-like” properties.
Pfizer also objected to the name Little Remedies because “a ‘remedy' under its ordinary definition is a ‘medicine, application, or treatment that relieves or cures a disease.'”
NAD dismissed some of these matters—such as the type of honey used in the cited studies compared to what appears in the Prestige products—and said Prestige was on solid ground when it came to saying the cough syrup can soothe and calm coughs. But NAD also said that Honey Pops do not contain enough honey to support claims that the product can soothe or calm throats or coughs.
The self-regulating division of the BBB also said the Little Remedies name was not misleading because there was no evidence showing that it misled consumers, and it noted that the name “makes no quantifiable claim,” unlike a product name that conveys something like “all-day energy.”
NAD recommended that Prestige advertisements stop using claims that honey in the products could soothe sore throats or relieve colds.
Prestige said it disagreed with some of NAD's findings, including decisions regarding its “sore throat” and “fiery throat” claims.