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Genexa ‘Clean’ Medicine

Self-regulatory body finds "clean" medicine company playing dirty.

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Genexa ‘Clean’ Medicine

Genexa touts that it is “the first clean medicine company.” The company explains on its website:

What’s that? It’s medicine made with the same effective active ingredients you need, but without the artificial ones you don’t.

But Genexa doesn’t just highlight the ingredients in its “clean” medicine, it also calls out those in competitors’ over-the-counter products.

For example, Children’s Tylenol contains the same active ingredient – acetaminophen – as Genexa’s Kids’ Pain & Fever. But among the different inactive ingredients in Children’s Tylenol is propylene glycol, which Genexa ridiculed in a Facebook post as “also found in antifreeze.”

It may not surprise you to hear that Johnson & Johnson, the maker of Children’s Tylenol, took offense to this claim and challenged it (and others) with the National Advertising Division.

J&J argued that the marketing “instills unnecessary fears about products that contain” propylene glycol and other ingredients, noting, among other things, that propylene glycol is included on the FDA’s list of substances “Generally Recognized as Safe.”

NAD agreed that the claims went too far, writing in its final decision:

There is a distinction between claims that underscore a product’s claimed benefit versus claims that state or reasonably imply that other products are unsafe or pose potential risks or dangers.

The self-regulatory body recommended that Genexa discontinue the claims to avoid conveying the message that competing products with different inactive ingredients are generally unsafe, harmful or dangerous.

NAD also told Genexa to remove two pediatrician preference claims challenged by J&J or modify them to make clear that the surveyed participants expressed a preference limited to “ingredients.”

Genexa is appealing the decision.

The bottom line

“Clean” is a marketing term that has been used to sell everything from makeup to wine to bread to coal. But it has no legal definition so it can mean whatever marketers want it to mean.

Find more of our coverage on medicine here.

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