03 Mar Drop ‘No Therapeutic Claim’ From Labels – DOH
MANILA, Philippines–The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reminded all food and dietary supplement manufacturers, distributors and advertisers to stop using the phrase “No Approved Therapeutic Claims” in product labels and switch to the standard message in Filipino as ordered by the Department of Health (DOH).
In an advisory, the FDA said all food and dietary supplement products sold in the market should strictly carry on their labels the phrase “Mahalagang paalala: Ang (name of product) ay hindi gamot at hindi dapat gamiting panggamot sa anumang uri ng sakit (Important reminder: This is not a medicinal drug and should not be used to treat the symptoms of any disease).”
FDA officer in charge Nicolas Lutero III said the change in the message on the labels of food supplements was in view of a decision by the Court Appeals (CA) issued in November last year that uphled the DOH-FDA Administrative Order (AO) No. 2011-0008 under then Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral.
The health department ordered the removal of the “No Therapeutic Claim” phrase in all advertisements, promotional and sponsorship activities and materials in connection with food and dietary supplements.
But the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines, an association of over 65 firms in the country engaged in the manufacture, research and distribution of supplemental products, filed a complaint for injunction seeking a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction in a Manila Regional Trial Court in May 2010. The local court granted the injunction.
The group earlier appealed to the DOH to stop the implementation of its order, claiming that it had suffered and would continue to endure “great irreparable damage” if it were to be strictly enforced.
But in its decision, the appellate court said the DOH’s issuance of the order was merely an exercise of the state’s police power “which cannot be hindered by property rights.”
“As such right is innately ingrained in every state, there is no violation committed by the DOH when it issued the AO, which has for its end the health and welfare of the consuming public,” read the CA ruling.
It added that the public has the right to be informed of the nature and the established curative effects of the food supplements they bought from the market.
Following the court’s decision, Lutero said all food establishments concerned, the media and advertisers should strictly comply with the directives stated in the DOH order.
Not allowed in ads, promos
“The use of the message or phrase, ‘No Approved Therapeutic Claim’ shall no longer be allowed in any form of advertisement, promotion and/or sponsorship activities or materials concerning food/dietary supplements,” Lutero said.
He also noted that under the DOH order, audio advertisements or promotions should carry the standard message in Filipino and that it shall be “clearly and audibly voiced over, without being cut off in the last line of the advertisement or promotions regardless of its duration.”
The FDA has monitored many food supplements being promoted online and in social network sites as alternative remedies for a wide range of diseases such as cancer, kidney and cardiovascular illnesses, among others.
These food supplements often come in the form of juice, herbal teas and coffee. The FDA has repeatedly warned the public against falling for “deceptive and misleading” claims made by these products.