New York, NY – June 27, 2023 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs determined that Haleon, plc provided a reasonable basis for the challenged claims that its Voltaren Arthritis Pain Relief Gel is the:
- “#1 Doctor Recommended Topical Pain Relief Brand”
- “#1 Topical Pain Reliever Globally”
NAD also concluded that the “#1 Doctor Recommended” claim as it appears on Haleon’s website and CVS’ website is not misleading. However, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim that “most topicals heat, cool, or irritate the surface of the skin, which masks the pain” or modify it to avoid conveying that other topical pain relievers are ineffective.
The claims at issue were challenged by competitor RB Health (US) LLC.
Voltaren Arthritis Pain Relief Gel is a topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is applied to the skin to provide temporary relief of joint pain associated with arthritis. Originally only available through prescription, Voltaren became available over the counter (OTC) in 2020.
“#1 Doctor Recommended” and “#1 Topical Pain Reliever Globally”
Based on the evidence in the record, NAD concluded that Haleon provided a reasonable basis for the claims “#1 Doctor Recommended Topical Pain Relief Brand” and “#1 Topical Pain Reliever Globally.”
However, NAD found that the claim “#1 Doctor Recommended Topical Pain Relief Brand,” if viewed in isolation and out of context, could reasonably convey a message about Voltaren being indicated for general pain and not just arthritis pain. Therefore, NAD recommended that when the advertiser makes this claim in other contexts it clearly and conspicuously discloses that Voltaren is approved for the treatment of arthritis pain.
“Most Topicals Heat, Cool, or Irritate the Surface of the Skin Which Masks the Pain”
NAD considered whether this claim is merely a description of the mechanism of action of most other topical pain relievers on the market, such as menthol-based products known as “counterirritants.” However, NAD determined that the claim could reasonably convey a misleading message to consumers that such products may harm the skin and be ineffective at treating pain.
Therefore, NAD recommended that the claim be discontinued or modified to avoid conveying the message that other topical pain relievers are ineffective.
In its advertiser statement, Haleon stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s decision” and that it “will take NAD’s additional recommendations into consideration in future advertising.”
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About the National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.