Attention weight loss marketing professionals!
Want to avoid being crushed with a Hulk-sized fine? Then adhere to the Federal Drug Agency’s (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) regulations regarding weight loss product marketing.
#5 Weight Loss Marketing Law Tip: Know The FDA Regulations or Work With A Lawyer That Does
The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for setting and managing rules related to avoirdupois reduction dietary supplements. The two main FDA acts related to the niche are the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.
Nutrition Labeling and Education Act
The 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act allowed marketers to make bold claims, so long as they got FTC approval before launching a campaign. But the system wasn’t foolproof and did lend itself to…shall we say…favoritism. It also, advocates argued, placed unnecessary regulations on the dietary supplement industry.
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA)
Unhappy with the amount of regulations outlined in the NLEA, under the stewardship of Orrin Hatch, officials passed the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) –which resulted in significant deregulation of the weight loss supplement industry. (More details are below.)
#4 Weight Loss Marketing Regulation: DSHEA and Dietary Supplements
The DSHEA defined dietary supplements as any product that contains a(n):
- Amino Acid,
- Mineral, or
- Botanical (herb).
Under DSHEA, Dietary Supplements Can Be A:
- Constituent, or
#3 Weight Loss Product Marketing Law Tip: What Needs To Be On A Dietary Supplement Label?
DSHEA states that the act of labeling any dietary supplement as a prevention, treatment or cure for a disease is illegal. Moreover, a dietary supplement may not be presented as a conventional food, complete meal or full diet. It must also be properly labeled as a “dietary supplement.”
Every label for a weight loss dietary supplement must include:
- The words “dietary supplement.” You can use the supplement name to replace “dietary” (e.g., “Ginkgo Supplement”);
- Quantity of Contents (e.g., “40 Capsules”);
- A “Supplement Facts” panel outlining the nutritional information — including amount, serving size, and percent daily value;
- Weight of the blend, as well as a listing of each ingredient (in descending order);
- The part of the plant used must be listed (if an herb or botanical);
- Name and place of business of the manufacturer, distributor or packer;
- Complete list of ingredients by their common names;
- “Material” safety information;
If the FDA has not approved the dietary supplement, the label must also include the words:
“This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
#2 Weight Loss Product Marketing Law Tip: Free Speech Trumps All, But Disclosures Are Paramount
The government cannot place a nationwide ban on “potentially” misleading information if it’s presented in a non-deceptive way. In essence, the courts think it’s better to have more disclosures than infringe on free speech. That said, disclosure requirements are copious and specific. Follow them or risk the wrath of the FTC.
#1 Weight Loss Product Marketing Law Tip: FDA cGMP Policy
In 2007, the FDA implemented a “current good manufacturing practices” (cGMP) policy to ensure supplements undergo proper quality control. The guidelines demand that dietary supplement businesses maintain regular facility inspection and record detention programs.
The Dietary Supplement Verification Program (DSVP) was also implemented and placed under management of the United States Pharmacopeia. The USP Verified Mark indicates a product’s integrity, purity, and dissolution have been tested, including random off-the-shelf testing.
Contact A Weight Loss Dietary Supplement Marketing Attorney
Government guidelines and statutes concerning weight loss advertising is dense and nuanced. We’ve provided links for your own research and spot checks — but if you want to make sure you’re on the right side of the law, get a marketing attorney to review your operation.
Weight loss marketing fines can run in the millions. And the FTC can cause you serious financial hardship — they may even take assets of family members.
What qualities should you look for in lawyer to review your weight loss marketing operation? He or she doesn’t have to be near you, they just need to have experience in dietary supplement labeling.