What’s Wrong With This Picture?

December 4, 2019

Our weekly posts have been entertaining and thought provoking to write. We have covered a number of topics ranging from hopeful to insightful. Today’s post originated with a series of phone calls from industry colleagues discussing the impact of CBD on the industry. Many believe the impact is overall positive, but some ingredient suppliers are noticing some headwinds. Major ingredient manufacturers of curcumin and other joint health ingredients, distributors and brands are all reporting challenges in the joint health category. Initial research indicates it is too early to quantify the concern, but the noise level is such that we will monitor the issue.

What did come out of this week’s research on the CBD topic is a request to help explain a puzzling CBD website: RheumatoidArthritis.org.  The website touts itself as a support network dedicated to sufferers of a painful autoimmune disease, and it is an IRS registered 501c3 charitable organization, however their 2018 Form 990-N indicates no assets or income as both are listed as $0. All of that is somewhat understandable and not all together unusual.

What stands out as a request for explanation is the website itself. The front-page talks about what is Rheumatoid Arthritis, causes, symptoms, treatments, etc. The front page includes a link to a CBD oil link and a request for a brief 4-minute survey.

The survey is four questions that eventually allow you to sign up a study participant providing “discounted products for testing”:

The organization is clearly stating they receive advertising support:

Advertising Disclosure

The cost to maintain this website grows each week. As we do not wish to plaster large banner ads throughout the site we have an advertising relationship with some of the offers displayed here. However we do not offer any products or services that haven’t been thoroughly vetted by us. Nor do we recommend anything we wouldn’t use ourselves. Most recommended products are used daily by our team and paid for with our personal money. We keep the number of high qualtiy advertisers very low. RASN is dedicated to providing the most up to date and trusted information. If anything fails to meet your standards in any way please contact us so that we may consider removing it from our recommendations.  

What is not clear is what process is used for the vetting of the products offered.

The CBD endorsement affirms the science behind the claims:

CBD Oil Eases Arthritis Pain

One of the primary CBD oil benefits for arthritis sufferers is its positive effect on pain, and research confirms it.:A study published in the journal Pain in December 2017 analyzed whether CBD could prevent osteoarthritis pain and joint neuropathy. Based on their findings, researchers affirmed that it did both because it decreased joint inflammation and served as a protectant to the nerves.The study is a rat study on osteoarthritis:Pain. 2017 Dec;158(12):2442-2451. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001052.

Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.

The site also endorses curcumin for Rheumatoid Arthritis albeit much deeper into the content:

Dr. Freeman is referenced as a medical expert endorsing the statements made on this website. We contacted her via Linkedin and she responded with: “Scott, thanks for reaching out. I did not and do not endorse this.”

This type of advertising is nothing new to our industry. This site explicitly references pain and disease and associates them with a dietary supplement and included information from an expert without her knowledge or permission.

TTC is collecting examples of these and will share them time to time for your review and comment. We welcome you to assist us in this collection, when you see something, send something. Our team email is info AT trusttransparency DOT com.  

Our questions to you:

  1. What do you think about this type of advertising?
  2. In your opinion is RASN DSHEA compliant?
  3. Would you like to be more or less aware of this type of issue

TTC will work to help us all observe the grey areas of marketing and focus on the good this industry provides! To paraphrase Justice Brandeis – “Transparency is the best disinfectant”. Let’s keep cleaning!


Author: richard151

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Lori Diez combines compassion and excellence to lead organizations to their next level. A small-town Texas childhood taught her the value of hard work and relationships, which she uses to foster teamwork that brings results that have transformed cultures and programs to their highest potential. Her successful career in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales leadership and event hosting has prepared her to deliver results as the COO of TrustTransparency, where she uses her industry knowledge to ensure that the company’s operations run smoothly as they support nutraceutical companies in their mission to help others. Lori’s passion for charity reflects her belief that individuals working together can change the world, no matter how small their contribution to the effort. This year, she looks forward to continuing over a decade of service at the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo, where she will be the Chairman of the Livestock Committee.

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Glynnda Steinford, Trust Transparency Consulting’s Director of Customer Relations, brings over four decades of healthcare experience to her vital role in client engagement and relationship building. Her diverse background spans from administering medical groups to impactful stints in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales, all underlined by her degree in Healthcare Administration.

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Caiti Dowden stands as a crucial pillar at Trust Transparency Consulting, bringing invaluable insight and expertise to her role as Senior Executive Assistant’ since her start in 2018. With an academic background from Sam Houston University and a career shift from education to the nutraceutical sphere in 2010, Caiti has cultivated a sharp acumen for dissecting industry trends and bolstering strategic decision-making.

Her transition from Data Analyst reflects her growth and deep understanding of the business landscape. Caiti’s commitment goes beyond professional excellence; she thrives on balance, drawing from her rich life outside of work to enhance her organizational contributions. Whether it’s family time, volunteering, or rooting for Houston’s sports teams, she believes in embracing experiences to fuel her professional creativity and insight.

In her current role, Caiti’s dedication to dynamic business analysis and operational support proves her to be an irreplaceable asset to our team, embodying the synergy of personal enrichment and professional success.

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Pam Hilpert, Chief of Staff at Trust Transparency Consulting, has been instrumental in the firm since its inception, leveraging her 17 years of accounting experience, including a significant tenure in the nutrition sector. Her collaboration with Scott Steinford spans various successful ventures, emphasizing her integral role in the company’s financial and strategic initiatives.

An alumnus of Sam Houston State University, Pam holds degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting, as well as an MBA, adding academic heft to her practical industry insights. Beyond her professional prowess, Pam is passionate about family, enjoys live music, delves into quilting, and volunteers at her church, reflecting her well-rounded life.

Her multifaceted expertise and longstanding dedication make Pam a cornerstone of Trust Transparency Consulting’s operational strength and team unity.

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Scott Steinford, a trailblazer in strategic leadership, boasts a certified M&A background, having navigated companies from their genesis to industry prominence. His brainchild, Trust Transparency Consulting, born in 2007, stands as a testament to his dedication to ethical business practices and strategic foresight, offering industry stakeholders invaluable guidance.

Beyond founding and steering companies, Scott has enriched the business landscape with his insightful keynotes and prolific written contributions, emphasizing his commitment to elevating industry standards. His executive tenure shines in roles as CEO or President of for-profits like ZMC-USA and Doctor’s Best, extending to significant contributions in non-profit sectors.

Notably, Scott’s influence is a driving force in the CoQ10 market, where his leadership has significantly bolstered the ingredient’s global presence. His roles in various capacities, including as a New Hope Ambassador, keep the community informed, providing in-depth industry reports and insights.

An active advocate within professional associations and an Editorial Advisor for leading industry publications, Scott’s expertise is both recognized and sought after. With academic roots in Pre-Law and a Master’s in Law, his journey transcends textbooks, embodying real-world business acumen and transformative leadership.

Scott Steinford merges visionary entrepreneurship with principled leadership, creating a legacy of innovation, growth, and unwavering commitment to industry excellence.