In the cosmetics industry, products claiming to “slow the aging process” have become increasingly popular. Cosmetics makers are competing fiercely to gain market share and claims made through their advertisements emphasize this trend. However, a number of companies have received warnings from the Food and Drug Administration that their products, based on their advertising, would be considered drugs under the Food Drug, and Cosmetics Act.
Avon, which sells a number of creams and gels that claim to rebuild collagen within skin cells, has recently come under fire because the claims it makes about its Anew products line suggest that they do not conform to FDA regulations.
In a warning letter to Avon, the FDA explained that:
“The claims on your web site indicate that these products are intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body, rendering them drugs under the Act. The marketing of these products with claims evidencing these intended uses violates the Act.”
Not only does this suggest that Avon believes that its products do not apply to the rigorous testing standards that drugs must go through prior to obtaining FDA approval, it also implies that these products will provide over-the-counter skin solutions that a dermatologist could provide through medical procedures. Because of this, Avon’s advertising tactics could be seen as misleading and/or deceptive.
Product manufacturers owe consumers a duty to advertise their products in a manner that does not lead them to believe that the product will do something that it does not do, or add a particular benefit not associated with the product.
If you have questions about deceptive marketing practices, an experienced attorney can advise you.
Source: CosmeticsDesign.com, Avon anti-aging claims attract U.S. lawsuit, October 29, 2012