FDA reacts to allergy claims


Food and Drug Administration officials broke out in hives over recent
broadcast ad claims aired by allergy-drug makers Novartis AG and GlaxoSmithKline.

Both companies were ordered to pull broadcast, print and Web ads asserting
that prescription drugs "Zaditor" and "Flonase" were superior to other treatments,
citing lack of evidence supporting those claims.

Novartis promoted its Zaditor eyedrops in 60-second TV spots featuring a man
washing his irritated eyes in a golf-ball washer.

The FDA said Novartis improperly implied that Zaditor was superior to both
"allergy pills" and competing eyedrops.

Flonase was improperly touted in 60-second radio ads, the FDA said, as besting
antihistamines "Allegra," "Clarinex" and "Zyrtec," even though the corticosteriod spray
has not been proven effective for non-nasal symptoms of allergies such as itchy
and watery eyes.