Wyeth, Bayer Participate In NAD Forum

New York, NY – June 18, 2007 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Bayer Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Aleve pain reliever, modify or discontinue advertising claims for the product that imply Aleve was ranked or rated by orthopedic surgeons using an objective criteria.

Advertising claims for Aleve were challenged by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Advil, a competing pain reliever. NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined brochures, Website advertising and other promotional materials that included the claim:

  • Rated #1 for Arthritis Pain*

(*Survey of orthopedic surgeons, April 2006. Comparison among leading brands of OTC pain relievers.”)

NAD also reviewed the following claim in radio advertising:

 “…..  Results from a recent study report that a group of orthopedic doctors rated Aleve as the number one, most effective, over the counter brand when it comes to relief of minor arthritis pain.  That’s right, Aleve was rated number one for pain relief by orthopedic doctors … Survey of 260 orthopedic surgeons conducted April 2006.”

In response to NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser advised that it had discontinued the radio advertising at issue.

The advertiser noted that the claims were based on a survey of 260 orthopedic surgeons who were asked which pain reliever they “preferred” in the treatment of minor arthritis. The challenger argued that the claims conveyed the message that the participating doctors ranked pain relievers according to objective criteria.

NAD, in its decision, noted that rating a product and “preferring or recommending a product are not synonymous.”

Physicians may recommend a certain product most for reasons that include dosing ease, efficacy or value, NAD noted. However, the claim “#1 Rated” implies that the doctors surveyed objectively ranked a particular product as the most effective for relief.