Bayer Tempts Fate in Ad Claiming One A Day Reduces Hot Flashes

Last Updated Jan 26, 2011 7:29 PM EST

Bayer's new TV ad campaign for its One A Day Menopause multivitamin product may be tempting fate: It claims One A Day can "Reduce Daytime + Nighttime Hot Flashes" and "Address Mild Mood Changes" on its web page.

That's potentially controversial because the medical literature on vitamins and supplements isn't that clear cut. In addition, Bayer (BAYRY)'s web site warns, "This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease."

Bayer has a history of making misleading statements about its One A Day brand. It's currently fighting a class action lawsuit over radio and TV ads that claimed One A Day could prevent prostate cancer. The company has been cited by the FTC twice for making false claims about One A Day; in one case Bayer claimed the product could be used for weight loss.

As far as One A Day Menopause is concerned, studies in the PubMed database have shown that the data is conflicting and overall does not support the use of over-the-counter remedies for hot flashes or mood swings. There's a specific lack of data that isoflavones (which are often recommended by alternative medicine types for hot flashes and are among One A Day's ingredients) are effective for hot flashes. Nor does the Mayo Clinic recommend alternative medicines for menopausal hot flashes.

Bayer did not immediately return a message requesting comment. Its campaign is potentially risky because stating that One A Day can "reduce" hot flashes and "address" mood changes are arguably claims that the product has a medical function within your body. Companies are banned by law from making medical claims unless the FDA has approved them, and -- as Bayer's web site states -- that hasn't happened.