Colipa revises guidelines on product efficacy and claims

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Scientific method

Colipa has revised its guidelines relating to product efficacy and
claims, highlighting the difference between the collection of
scientific data and the communication of product claims.

The changes were prompted by the lack of clarity in the original document released in 2001 explained Brian Lightfoot, who presented the changes at the Colipa General Assembly in Switzerland. In addition, the European trade association hopes that the revised guidelines will show that the industry is serious in its response to stakeholder pressure and criticisms from consumers regarding the credibility of product claims. Efficacy and claims are not the same ​ The body sought to clarify the difference between the collection of efficacy data and the communication of claims which has resulted in the creation of two documents. The first concentrates on the collection of scientific data behind a product and has been accepted by the board. The second focuses on the communication of product claims and is still under discussion. Explaining this division, Lightfoot said: "The role of communicating and the role of generating data are two very different professions, one is marketing, one is science. This was not clear in the original guidelines." ​ When asked whether the division would make it easier for companies to make claims based on little evidence, he explained that any claim regarding the efficacy of products would still have to be backed up by scientific data. Instead, the new guidelines on efficacy are designed to make sure that data is collected in a scientific way, that studies are relevant and meaningful, he said. They highlight the main methodological approaches companies can use to evaluate the efficacy of products and the details that should be included about test protocols and in test reports. Not a positive list of claims ​ Lightfoot was quick to emphasise that not endangering innovation was one of the key principles kept in mind when reformulating the guidelines. For this reason Colipa has avoided publishing a list of accepted product claims and the scientific studies that could be used to back them up because this could limit innovation within the industry. The fact that product claims constantly change in response to consumer needs, as do the methods manufacturers use to test products, means that any positive list of accepted claims and test procedures would be of little use, he said.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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