The Structure of Dysfunctional Health Claims

  • by: |
  • 08/02/2012
Is that pomegranate juice in your glass or are you just happy to see me?

According to DSHEA, dietary supplements are foods. And now a food (or in this case, a fruit juice) is behaving like a dietary supplement -- making false health claims.

Makers of POM Wonderful (a pomegranate juice drink) have been warned by both the FDA and the FTC to stop making unsubstantiated claims about the drink's health benefits.

Among the claims made by the company is that POM is "40% as effective as Viagra" because it improves blood flow and promotes healthy blood vessels. The firm also claim POM is "proven to fight cardiovascular, prostate and erectile health" and that "clinical studies prove that POM Juice prevents, reduces the risk of, and treats, erectile dysfunction."

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover pilot study examined the efficacy of pomegranate juice versus placebo in improving erections in 61 male subjects. The study did not achieve overall statistical significance, but the authors (from the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California,) conclude that additional studies with more patients and longer treatment periods may in fact reach statistical significance.

And then again -- it may not.

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against the makers of POM Wonderful. This comes six months after the FDA told POM to stop misleading consumers with claims of “super health powers.”

There’s a punchline in there somewhere

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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