October 31, 2019

Advertising Law News and Analysis

2 min

Customer Review Fraud Top of FTC's Priority List

The FTC recently announced yet another settlement with a company regarding its customer review practices. This case involved a popular cosmetics brand that retailed at Sephora—Sunday Riley. According to the FTC, Sunday Riley's managers and chief executive officer ordered employees and interns to create fake Sephora accounts and submit reviews for their products. The FTC had obtained multiple company emails showing the lengths Sunday Riley went to to drive positive customer reviews, including evading Sephora's detection by manipulating IP addresses.

$40 Million Reasons to Have RCTs

The FTC prevailed last month in its long-waged battle against Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, holding Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals in contempt for violating the court's prior order to cease making certain claims about health products without "competent and reliable scientific evidence." The Eleventh Circuit also upheld a $40 million sanction for the defendant's violation of that order. The case is an example of how the FTC views substantiation for dietary supplement claims and the consequences for lacking substantiation.

Five "Lessons" for Lead Generation Advertisers

Enforcement, workshops, and reports by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have yielded five "lessons" for lead generation advertisers, according to an article that was published last month in Law360 by Andrew Smith, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. In it, he suggests that companies that purchase lead generation advertising must manage lead generators responsibly, just like manufacturers that make supply chain management a top priority.

FDA Puts Homeopathic Industry on Notice – No More Lax Enforcement
Agency Denies Industry Petition and Publishes Revised Draft Guidance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears set to ramp up enforcement efforts against companies selling homeopathic products. Since 1988, FDA’s enforcement decisions have been made within the framework of Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) § 400.400. Under this policy, the agency generally limited enforcement actions to products that were either inappropriately labeled or manufactured in violation of good manufacturing practice regulations. Publication of the new draft guidance document, which officially withdraws CPG 400.400, is the latest signal that the regulatory landscape is changing – perhaps dramatically.