Following NAD Inquiry, Rite Aid Permanently Discontinues “#1 Health Care Professional Recommended Brands” And Other Related Claims.

New York, NY –March 22, 2019–Following an inquiry by the National Advertising Division, Rite Aid Hdqtrs. Corp. (“Rite Aid”) stated that it will permanently discontinue its claim that various products are “#1 Health Care Professional Recommended Brands.” The challenge arose from NAD’s routine monitoring program.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

In addition to the claim that a variety of products are “#1 Health Care Professional Recommended Brands,” NAD also requested that the advertiser substantiate a series of similar claims, including:

  • “#1 Gastroenterologist Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Cardiologist Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Allergist Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Doctor Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Pharmacist Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Pediatrician Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Dentist Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Neurologist Recommended Brands”
  • “#1 Dermatologist Recommended Brands”

The claims appeared on panels above and on the sides of shelved displays in Rite Aid stores around the country, as well as in coupon pamphlets that were available on the displays. The display included a variety of OTC medicines, supplements and other health care products.

NAD noted that when a retailer makes a claim about a product it sells, the retailer is responsible for the truth and accuracy of that claim. NAD generally attributes in-store claims that are clearly part of a product manufacturers’ branded marketing to that manufacturer, but advertising that reasonably suggests that the claims are those of the retailer impose an obligation on the retailer to ensure that those claims are substantiated.

Relying on Rite-Aid’s representation that the claims at issue have been permanently discontinued, NAD did not review the claims on their merits. The voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

In its advertiser’s statement, Rite Aid stated that it has voluntarily agreed to remove the claims from the display and to comply with NAD’s recommendations.

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.