On May 13, the Federal Trade Commission gained the intenseattention of the advertising industry by a landmark decision, called “punitive”by some and found highly justified by others even within the industry.For the first time in 24 years, the FTC issued a “corrective” advertisingorder against an advertiser in an adjudicated case.

In In re NovartisCorp.,Docket No. 9279, 1999 FTC Lexis 63, Novartis was ordered toinform the public that Doan’s Pills were no better than other analgesicsin treating back pains. The company must carry the statement, “AlthoughDoan’s is an effective pain reliever, there is no evidence that Doan’sis more effective than other pain relievers for back pain,” on all packagingand advertising materials for one year, excluding radio and televisionads of 15 seconds or less, until it has expended $8 million on correctiveads.

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