Press Release

Complaint by Prompts Decision Against Children’s Supplement Renews Call for U.S. Regulators to Act

MADISON, Conn., June 26, 2013 — After an investigation prompted by a complaint from (, the Portuguese advertising authority has issued a formal decision against the European marketing of SpeakTM, a dietary supplement aimed at children with speech delays as a result of conditions such as autism and apraxia.

The decision by the Instituto Civil da Autodisciplina da Publicidade (ICAP) states:

  • Speak cannot be advertised as “patented” because there is no patent for the formula.
  • The claim that the nutrients in Speak have been shown to improve speech should not be made because it is “unproven, misleading, [and] abuses the consumers’ lack of knowledge and experience.”
  • Speak is a medication.

“We commend the Portuguese ad authority for taking swift action on our complaint, and we are renewing our request that U.S. regulators and the Illinois Attorney General take up this serious issue,” said Bonnie Patten, Executive Director of “Speak is a potentially dangerous supplement marketed in misleading ways at a vulnerable audience – those who are struggling to help their children with speech delays. The public needs our authorities to stop this deception now.” this week filed a second round of letters with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Illinois Attorney General, alerting them to the Portuguese decision and urging them to pursue the matter.  This follows’s initial alert to the authorities in March. Because Speak is also marketed in Europe, at that time also notified the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which referred the matter to its Portuguese counterpart, leading to the ICAP decision.

Consistent with its commitment to transparency and its desire to engage the public community in the fight against deceptive marketing, has published on its website the ICAP decision,’s complaint letters, the evidence used to make its case, responses from Speak, and related information: The website also features other legal efforts; frequent alerts and reporting about deceptive ads; celebrations of honest ads; educational materials; and multiple ways for the public to get involved in protecting themselves and each other from misleading marketing. is a nonprofit organization based in Madison, Conn., whose mission is to be the go-to online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing. Its aim is to achieve that mission through education, advocacy, and the promotion of truth in advertising. is independently funded and does not accept any advertising dollars to support its work.

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