Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Public Good of Verifying Medical Claims?

"Companies like Dannon shouldn’t exaggerate the strength of scientific support for their products." FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement.

The company, though, stands by its products' abilities to keep the bowels moving brisky....the company will now have to let consumers know that any statements about benefits for digestion or the immune system are based on European studies involving three servings a day of yogurt.

From NPR
My inner middle school child is amused by the story linked about how Dannon was fined $21 million dollars for exaggerating the ability of their yogurt Activa to keep you regular.

I'm not sure this is the best use of the FTC, since you can verify pretty easily how well activa works in this manner. Although, it would seem harder to verify its impact on the immune system.

So my quick analysis is that the FTC should work harder investigating claims that are less verifiable without research.

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Britt said...

So, I conclude from this that I should be eating more yogurt... More European yogurt.

Unknown said...

People continue to purchase cough syrup despite the fact that it has never been shown to be effective. I have noticed in dealing with my own coughing fits that it is very episodic, so just waiting 10 to 20 minutes usually works. Obviously, if I had taken a cough syrup at the peak, I might have attributed it to the syrup.

We are very suggestible. Hence the placebo effect.