Thursday, September 27, 2007
Paying for product approvals
Nowadays, there are a lot of seals on products. Everyone from the American Academy of Dermatology to the American Cancer Society seems to offer some sort of seal for products you buy every day. Obviously, the manufacturers love it because they hope it leads to increased sales. Did you know, however, that many of the approving organizations are paid for their seals? In many cases, there are no independent tests performed and the consumers are sort of left wondering what it all means.
Today, we learned that Wrigley paid the American Dental Association to review some of the studies the company performed on its own products. After a review of that data and accepting $36,000, the ADA has offered its seal of approval on Wrigley sugar-free chewing gum products. That's right. These products now get the same seal of approval seen on some toothbrushes and on mouthwash. The ADA stands by its seal and told us any company can apply for the seal, as long as the company pays for it.
The ADA is not alone. The American Cancer Society has an ongoing relationship with Neutrogena. It offers the ACS seal, not as an endorsement, it says - but rather as recognition of Neutrogena's cancer-prevention programs. In case you're curious, Neutrogena pays $300,000 a year to get that seal of recognition.
Do you think that these organizations should be held to a higher standard when it comes to dispensing seals of recognition, approval or whatever? Or, is it acceptable for these seals to be purchased as long as the money is put to good use? And, should companies that make products be allowed to submit their own data, or should all data come from independent sources? What do you think?
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