Sunday, January 09, 2005

More on Listerine!

January 8, 2005 -- It was a case of oral arguments.

A federal judge bristled at the makers of Listerine mouthwash yesterday for claiming their product could replace dental floss in fighting gum disease.

Manhattan Judge Denny Chin ruled that Pfizer Inc.'s flashy media ads for its Listerine product were "false and misleading," posing a "public health risk" — and ordered them taken off the market.

"Dentists and hygienists have been telling their patients for decades to floss daily," Chin wrote.

"They have been doing so for good reason. The benefits of flossing are real — they are not a 'myth.' Pfizer's implicit message that Listerine can replace floss is false and misleading."

The lawsuit was brought by a Johnson & Johnson company, McNeil-PPC, the market leader in string dental floss used to clean between the teeth. The floss maker argued that Listerine's false advertising would damage its sales.

Dentists have long advocated that patients should floss as well as brush their teeth daily to reduce plaque and gum-related diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, a major cause of tooth decay and loss.

If people feel they can get the same benefits by just rinsing, they might skip flossing altogether, the plaintiffs said.

Pfizer said two internal clinical studies justified its American Dental Association-approved ad campaign telling consumers that "Cool Mint" Listerine is "As Effective as Floss."

Chin, in a 59-page decision, said the ADA was wrong to approve the campaign. He noted that dentists complained the ads sent the wrong message and would encourage people to stop flossing.

A 59 page opinion? Come on, your honor, don't you have better cases to review?

Since when does a federal judge start mandating dental recommendations of the American Dental Association?

Also, note the lawsuit was brought by dental floss manufacturers.

Too much judicial activism here! The Federal Court of Appeals needs to set Judge Chin's opinion aside.

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