Thursday, January 17, 2008

miracle of modern medicine marketing


Redeeming my $10 Award at Vitamin Shoppe last night (doing my part for the CRM side) I noticed this product displayed at the register. I'd just spent the day tweaking copy to adhere to FDA guidelines which are impressively strict regarding pharmaceuticals--the drug I was writing about actually does work for most people, but because 1 person in 100 might not find it effective I must say "may result in the appearance of symptom relief" instead of "will relieve symptoms."

So how can a medicine get away with an unequivocal promise to relieve jet lag entirely?

Because technically, it's not a drug. It's a homeopathic medicine. Advertisers don't have to prove that their homeopathic remedies actually work. They only have to show that their remedy has a history of being used to treat a condition. The FDA allows homeopathic products to be sold as long as specific health claims are not made in advertising or on product labels.

It appears as if No-Jet-Lag is promising no jet lag, but according to FDA guidelines, it isn't. No-Jet-Lag isn't a claim, it's the name of the product. On the back of the package, product copy states it's "for the relief of tiredness associated with air travel." But my guess is, if No-Jet-Lag was regulated as other medicines are, they'd be prohibited from making their name a product-promise that's printed no less than eight times in huge type on a package the size of a box of Chiclets.

Impulsively,(it might work!) I threw a pack in my bag and was stunned that it added $11.99 to the bill. Whoever's making this stuff must be raking it in.

When I got home, I looked up the manufacturer on the web. Miers Laboratories is in New Zealand where it makes an array of other miracle medicines, too: Drink Ease, for hangovers. Femme Ease which somehow relieves not only menstrual problems, but infections, PMS, even fibroids. And No-Shift-Lag which purports to relieve night shift workers of increased irritability, moodiness, sensitivity, defensiveness, forgetfulness and/or constipation that comes from late shifts.

They don't sell that one here. But you could probably web order.

2 comments:

Irene Done said...

Is this the same loophole situation that allows all those male enhancement remedies to advertise? Enzyte's "Bob" campaign is hilarious but the claims are hilariously outlandish. Last I read, Enzyte's maker was being sued for mail fraud -- but not for lying in an ad.

Toad said...

It is amazing how overregulated the pharma industry is -though those "fair balance" warnings have become wallpaper we just tune out, so how effective are they really?