Quick Tip:
Don’t Rile the FDA With Questionable Health Claims

If you write for the health market, there are certain claims you simply cannot make – for example, claiming that a product will cure a disease. Say those things and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can cause serious problems for your client and for you.

It’s still possible to write strong alternative health copy without making such bold statements. But when writing these promos, be aware of the restrictions the FDA places on you.

The FDA’s website has two pages that should help you through this potential minefield.

The best place to start is http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/sclmguid.html. This page is titled "Structure/Function Claims: Small Entity Compliance Guide." There is a lot of reading here, and it’s not very entertaining. But it will tell you what you can and cannot say.

The other page – http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/ds-ind.html – is a huge, general index of FDA documents and Web pages about alternative health. Go here if you are interested in finding a lot of (sometimes confusing) information about alternative health and dietary supplements.

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Published: January 10, 2005

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