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The Pitfalls and Burdens of Claims

By: Marie Alice Dibon, PharmD
Posted: February 2, 2010, from the February 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 9

Whether the regulatory scenario continues its current course or restrictions tighten, the industry’s burden grows every year. Various consumer demands and expectations, expressed loudly through social media or through non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the increasing interest in natural and organic products (largely due to consumers’ growing attention to environmental issues), and the like, all put more pressure on world governments to create new rules. And that trend is not going to ease up anytime soon.

Playing the NGOs Game

There are many cases in which the enforcement of regulations or the creation of new ones, wherever it stems from, is the result of reckless industry behavior.

That became painfully obvious for Frederic Demarne, head of R&D at Gattefossé, which manufactures and markets ingredients and application technologies.

“Most of the regulations recently adopted, whether it is the European Union’s Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) or the restrictions on parabens (which could result into a ban) were adopted because of NGO pressure, but also because industry played NGOs’ game. In order to make a quick buck, many played the ‘parabens-free’ game, the organic game or the ‘preservative-free’ game. It is much easier to sell products without parabens than it is to stand up to NGOs or to educate customers about bogus science, like the one that was used as the starting point for the parabens ban.”

In that last case, it is interesting to note that the very initiator of the debate came out to refute the misleading interpretations that had been made. In that case, the science was not seriously flawed, but the conclusions that were drawn from it were, mostly by people who didn’t have the credentials necessary to draw those conclusions.