National Advertising Review Board Finds Sanofi’s “#1 Doctor Recommended Ingredient” Claims for Zantac 360° Unsubstantiated
Nov 02, 2022
New York, NY – November 2, 2022 – A panel of the National Advertising Review Board (NARB), the appellate advertising law body of BBB National Programs, recommended that Sanofi Consumer Healthcare not use claims that:
- Zantac 360° contains, or that famotidine is, “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient;” or
- Zantac 360° contains, or that famotidine is, “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient among H2 Blockers.”
Related advertising claims had been challenged before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs by Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., manufacturer of the competing Pepcid products. Following NAD’s decision (Case No. 7088), Sanofi appealed NAD’s finding that it did not have proper support for the claim that famotidine is “the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient (among H2 blockers).”
The parties manufacture and market leading brands of OTC heartburn medication containing Histamine-2 (H2) Blockers. In 2020, Sanofi introduced Zantac 360°, an H2 blocker formulated with the active ingredient famotidine – the same active ingredient used in the challenger’s Pepcid products.
As support for a doctor-recommended ingredient claim, Sanofi relied on the results of IQVIA survey data that recorded the number and percentage of physicians’ average weekly recommendations in the acid reducer category, a category that includes store/generic brands as well as branded products.
In agreement with NAD, the NARB panel determined that the IQVIA data relied on by Sanofi is not a good fit for the #1 Doctor Recommended ingredient claim because:
- The IQVIA survey was a brand/product survey, and therefore did not ask directly about ingredient preferences or recommendations; and
- In context, the responses concerning generic recommendations cannot be considered independently because the responses indicating brand recommendations could have impacted or influenced generic responses, or vice-versa.
Sanofi stated that it “will comply with the NARB’s decision and thanks the NARB for its attention to this matter.” Sanofi further stated that it “respectfully disagrees with the NARB’s ruling that the IQVIA survey did not provide a reasonable basis to make an unqualified claim that famotidine is the #1 doctor recommended ingredient among H2 blockers, given that famotidine is overwhelmingly the #1 doctor recommended H2 blocker whether looking at branded or generic acid reducer recommendations.” The advertiser further stated that it was disappointed that the process did not provide clarity on its proposed modified claim.
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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.
About the National Advertising Review Board (NARB): The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) is the appellate body for BBB National Programs’ advertising self-regulatory programs. NARB’s panel members include 85 distinguished volunteer professionals from the national advertising industry, agencies, and public members, such as academics and former members of the public sector. NARB serves as a layer of independent industry peer review that helps engender trust and compliance in NAD, CARU, and DSSRC matters.
Name: Abby Hills
Job Title: Director of Communications
BBB National Programs