Sunday, April 8, 2007

Trial Over Whether McNeil's Splenda Ads Were Misleading

Article in the Wall Street Journal -- How Sweet It Isn't: Maker of Equal Says Ads For J&J's Splenda Misled; Chemistry Lesson for Jurors, by Avery Johnson.  Here's an excerpt:

A battle between makers of artificial sweeteners stands to turn bitter next week, as a trial begins over what a judge has termed a veritable "sugargate."

The fight pits Merisant Co., the maker of Equal and NutraSweet, against health-care giant Johnson & Johnson, which sells market-leader Splenda. Merisant alleges that a J&J consumer-products unit, McNeil Nutritionals LLC, deliberately confused consumers over whether Splenda is a natural product.

The dispute could prove to be a black eye for J&J at a time when sales tactics at its drugs and medical-device units are already under scrutiny. Revenue from Splenda is a tiny slice of J&J's $53 billion in annual sales, but the case is the first in a string of pending suits that could threaten the reputation of a highly visible product.


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