Pfizer Consumer Healthcare recently challenged certain claims made by Prestige Brands regarding its line of Little Remedies products for children, including claims that the products are “for coughs,” “naturally soothe coughs and sore throats” and “calm fiery throats.” The “Little Remedies” brand name was also challenged.

In support of the claims, Prestige Brands, which uses honey in the Little Remedies products, provided a number of studies to demonstrate the efficacy of honey for children’s nighttime coughs. The NAD determined that the studies, taken together, demonstrated the effectiveness of honey in mitigating children’s nighttime coughs. Pfizer argued against the advertiser’s extrapolation of the ingredient studies to the Little Remedies honey-containing products.

In its decision, the NAD reiterated that studies in support of advertising claims generally must be on the products, not just one or more of the ingredients, but noted an exception to this rule where the product itself is “essentially the key ingredient.” The NAD determined honey was “essentially the key ingredient” in Little Remedies Honey Cough Syrup because the product consisted solely of honey, water, and a preservative. However, the NAD determined honey was not “essentially the key ingredient” in a second product at issue, Little Remedies Honey Pops, because there were a number of other ingredients in that product.

With respect to efficacy claims for sore throats and colds, the NAD disagreed that studies specific to efficacy of honey for cough mitigation could be extrapolated to colds and sore throats on the basis that the latter have symptoms distinct from coughs and must be evaluated separately. Accordingly, NAD recommended that Prestige Brands discontinue all claims that its products are a remedy for “colds” or that they calm “sore throats” or “fiery throats.” Finally, the NAD disagreed that the product name, “Little Remedies,” was misleading, noting it made no quantifiable claim about product performance.

TIP: As a general rule, product claims must be substantiated with tests that evaluate the product as a whole, as opposed to individual product ingredients. Additionally, advertisers should ensure that product claims are narrowly tailored to accurately reflect the results of product testing.