The U.S Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed settlements in December with six companies for marketing various products, including gummies, lozenges, oils, balms, and other products containing cannabidiol (CBD), to prevent or treat serious diseases and health conditions. Dubbed ‘Operation CBDeceit,’ this crackdown was triggered by claims which the FTC contends are “unsubstantiated” about the ability of such CBD-containing products to treat health conditions and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, and glaucoma, among others.
FTC Issues Fines
The fines – ranging up to $85,000 – stem from the FTC’s longstanding policy requiring that advertisers have reliable scientific evidence to support any health claims about products. Operation CBDeceit is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to protect consumers from potentially misleading advertising on websites and through social media companies.
As stated by the FTC itself, the big news about Operation CBDeceit is that the sweep shouldn’t come as big news to members of the CBD industry. To date, the FTC has sent multiple letters to businesses warning them about making questionable disease-related representations for CBD products and has taken law enforcement action against others. The message to marketers has been consistent: The same substantiation principles the FTC has applied to health claims for close to 50 years apply to similar claims for CBD products. Companies that represent expressly or by implication that what they sell can prevent, treat, or cure serious medical conditions will be held to the highest substantiation standards and marketers can expect careful scrutiny of those promises.
If you have questions about the types of claims allowed and/or whether such claims will “pass the test” if evaluated by the FTC, please contact our office today. Our attorneys are here to help guide you through these issues. Without proper guidance, your business may unknowingly become the subject of enforcement actions by the FDA, FTC, and/or potential consumer-based lawsuits.