#021: Robert Tauler #2 - How to Avoid False Advertising Lawsuits
Play • 57 min
While we at PricePlow love to talk about new brands, product releases, and new flavor variations, we strive to remain up-to-date with the business side of things within the supplement industry. It’s sometimes easy to neglect the inner workings of the industry - regulations, suits, etc. But, its extremely important to us that we cover this area and keep our readers in the know! Thanks to Robert Tauler of Tauler-Smith LLP for coming on to educate us! In April of 2019, PricePlow founder and CEO Mike Roberto sat down with Robert Tauler of Tauler-Smith LLP to discuss legal workings within the supplement industry. Robert, an attorney who earned his law degree from Harvard in 2005, has spent many years dealing with various legal situations in the world of food and dietary supplements, and specializes in the area of branding and marketing. In this video interview, Mike and Robert talked specifically about false advertising lawsuits - the rules in place, how issues arise, and how to avoid them! The interview is extremely informative, and we highly recommend checking it out. We’ll link it below, but if you’re someone who’d just rather have some of the key points, we have you covered there, too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH7RA5vrj38 Below are the comprehensive show notes for readers, but first, be sure to subscribe to our podcast! Subscribe to the PricePlow Podcast on Your Favorite Service iTunesSpotify Google PodcastsSoundCloud The regulatory bodies, laws, and regulations Issues in the supplement industry seem to consistently circulating, and that’s due to a number of factors! Our world is highly entrepreneurial, and in regards to the supplement industry in particular, there are low barriers to entry. Many of these firms are small businesses, looking to provide supplements that they believe in to the masses! Laws have been set into place in order to keep consumers safe, however. The "Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994" (DSHEA) is the dominating federal law that regulates the industry. It outlines everything - what constitutes a dietary supplement, labeling, claims that can/cannot be made, and even proper manufacturing practices! Some states can even have their own additional laws. California is one such example - they enforce their own regulations, which is noteworthy given the state is such a vast market! There are two main enforcers of these regulations are the FDA and FTC. Despite the two being separate federal agencies, they actually overlap quite a bit in most cases. The FTC governs marketing specifically! They tend to focus more on "big-ticket, nationwide" items, and are more interested in regulating highly profitable, large companies. They also enforce FDA regulations, as well, in addition to being able to hand down their own punishments. The FDA establishes most of the rules and regulations regarding what people ingest, be it food or supplements. They can investigate and police their policies, and recommend troublesome cases to the Department of Justice. Common supplement and food industry false advertising lawsuits Now that you have a brief overview of the structure of the industry and its policing agencies, let’s get into what some of the issues that come up are! While the laws in place are essential, they can sometimes be quite confusing, especially for those who aren’t well-versed in them! Common issues within the industry One cannot claim to cure/mitigate a disease in nutritional supplements! Implied disease claims are even problematic - you can’t say something like "improves your joints" in marketing! One cannot claim to alter the structure or function of any part of the human body in a dietary supplement, without valid evidence! This makes phrases like "speeds the metabolism" are tricky - you can use them if you have research studies to back them up!
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