The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on the world’s largest cosmetics maker, telling it to tone down claims on its anti-aging creams or apply for approval through the drug review process. The agency sent a letter to L’Oreal’s Lancome unit warning that the company’s website for its Genefique line of anti-wrinkle cosmetics, as well as other products, exaggerates the benefits of the skin cream, portraying it as a drug with medical properties.
Lancome claims Genefique “boosts the activity of genes” and contains ingredients that “stimulate cell regeneration to reconstruct skin to a denser quality.” The FDA says only drug products are allowed to make such claims, and only after data supporting safety and efficacy of the products have been reviewed and cleared by the agency. The FDA cited some of the company’s night creams, sunscreens and eye lifts in its warning letter.
Lancome isn’t the only cosmetics company to feel pressure from the FDA about questionable marketing practices. The agency has recently begun to crack down on companies that are marketing products that have some pharmaceutical ingredients, such as retinol. The agency says in some cases these products may need to be regulated as drugs. Cosmetics currently are not required to undergo such testing.
Lancome has 15 business days to respond to the FDA with a plan for correcting the language on its website and other marketing material.