NAD Recommends TyraTech Discontinue Performance, Efficacy Claims for ‘Vamousse’ Lice Treatments, Finds Company Can Support ‘Pesticide-Free’ Claim

New York, NY – June 25, 2015  – The National Advertising Division has recommended that TyraTech, Inc. discontinue challenged performance and efficacy claims for the company’s homeopathic Vamousse Lice Treatment and Prevention products, including the claim that its lice treatment product “Kills 100% of lice and eggs in 15 minutes.” NAD determined, however, that advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its “pesticide free” and “No Synthetic Pesticides” claims.

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

NAD examined claims made for Vamousse products following a challenge by Sanofi Pasteur, Inc., maker of a competing prescription lice treatment product.  Claims at issue included:

  • “Vamousse is proven to kill 100% of lice and eggs, in just 15 minutes.”
  • “Results in 15 minutes!”
  • “Vamousse is proven to kill 100% of resistant head lice.”
  • “Vamousse starts killing head lice and eggs the moment it’s applied, and will kill 100% of lice and their eggs in just 15 minutes!”
  • “Vamousse kills lice and eggs with 1 application.”
  • “Vamousse is non-toxic and pesticide free, and safe for children 2 years and older.”
  • Vamousse is scientifically proven to be 100% effective against ‘Super Lice.”
  • “Pesticide Free”
  • “[Vamousse Lice Prevention Shampoo] is an effective yet safe shampoo that uses non-toxic, natural ingredients to prevent infestation by killing lice before they lay eggs.”
  • “Protects family members from lice infestation.”

As NAD noted in its decision, the parties to this case agreed that the challenged claims required competent and reliable scientific evidence as substantiation, but disagreed on whether the evidence submitted by the advertiser met that standard.

The challenger asserted that the claims are powerful health claims that would require clinical testing, particularly in light of the product’s common use on children. The advertiser asserted that its claims were not “health” claims because the product acts upon lice, not humans. It also contended that its laboratory testing was both more accurate and more widely accepted as the industry standard for testing effectiveness of lice treatments.

NAD determined that the advertiser’s health-related performance claims should be held to the same substantiation standards as other health claims.  Longstanding NAD precedent holds that supporting such claims requires “human clinical trials that are methodologically sound and statistically significant to the 95% confidence level with results that translate into meaningful benefits for consumers.”

Applying that standard, NAD determined that the advertiser’s in vitro tests were insufficient to support its claims regarding the efficacy of its lice treatment product when used to treat head lice infestations on humans and recommended that the advertiser discontinue its claims that Vamousse “Kills 100% of lice and eggs in 15 minutes,” “Kills lice and eggs in one application,” “starts killing head lice and eggs the moment it’s applied,” provides “Results in 15 minutes,” “Kills Resistant Lice” or is “proven to kill 100% of resistant head lice.”

NAD also determined that the in vitro testing on the advertiser’s Vamousse Protection Shampoo product was insufficient to support its claims that the product can “protect your child” or “prevent [or protect against] infestation by killing lice before they lay eggs,” and recommended that those claims be discontinued.

However, NAD found that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its “pesticide free” and “No Synthetic Pesticides” claims. It also determined that its use of the term “pesticide,” in the context in which it appeared in the challenged advertising, did not reasonably convey a comparative safety message.

TyraTech, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while the company  “is disappointed and disagrees with the NAD’s conclusion that its efficacy claims are health-related claims requiring human clinical trials for substantiation,” the company will “discontinue the efficacy claims identified by the NAD and take the NAD’s recommendations into account in future advertising.”