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Bayer with Heart Advantage: Not a One a Day Aspirin

You may have seen TV and print ads for a new low dose aspirin called “Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage.”  It is an 81 mg aspirin combined with an ingredient that can lower your cholesterol.

With about 50 million Americans taking daily aspirin therapy to reduce the risk of heart disease, what a great idea (seemingly) to incorporate an ingredient that can also lower cholesterol.


There is just one little problem with this little pill.

*MOUSE PRINT:  At the bottom of the ad, in fine print, (magnified below) is this advisory:


Translation: In order to get the cholesterol lowering benefits of this pill, you need to take two of these 81 mg pills a day – twice the typically recommended 81 mg. dose of aspirin. (The most common dosage for daily aspirin therapy is 81 mg. because larger doses can cause internal bleeding, and are no more effective.)

A spokesperson for Bayer confirmed the necessity of taking two caplets in order to receive the cholesterol lowering benefits promised, but said,

… 162 mg is well within the accepted low dose range of aspirin therapy of from 50 to 325 mg … We advise patients to ask their physician before they start Bayer Heart Advantage…

One only has to wonder how many people will grab this product, take their regular single 81 mg pill as usual thinking they were getting “more heart protection” when they are not. Why didn’t Bayer just put the full 800 mg of phytosterols necessary to get a heart advantage in a single 81 mg aspirin caplet and thus avoid mis-dosing?

“The FDA claim specifies that ‘the daily dietary intake of plant sterol or stanol esters should be consumed in two servings eaten at different times of the day with other foods.’ The health claim also says that dietary supplements or food containing at least 400mg per serving of free phytosterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 800mg, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol.” — Bayer spokesperson.

To emphasize that the dosing is different for this product, Bayer should put a conspicuous disclosure on the front panel that says “Take one twice a day,” and not merely rely on the fine print instructions on the back.

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Free Sample: No Obligation to Buy?

pain cream smallWho doesn’t like free samples, right? So when this offer of a free sample of PainVanish pain relieving cream arrived, a Mouse Print* reader was anxious to give it a try.

It promised to bring “freedom from your aches and pains.” And all you have to do is cut out the little “I want relief” sticker and place it on the free sample coupon for mailing back to the company.

There is small print repeated multiple times that says the free sample is just “for trying our ‘No-Obligations-To-Buy’ Service”. While one might reasonably conclude that the sample you are going to get is the way this company will try to induce you to place future orders if you like the product, they have something else planned. This disclosure is on the back of the brochure, not the back of the tear off coupon:


pain cream string

Translation: This is really a “pain cream of the month” club. If you don’t tell them to cancel, a month after your free sample arrives, you will first get a two ounce tube of cream for $14.99 plus unspecified shipping and handling charges, and then every month thereafter you will get a four ounce tube for $24.99 plus shipping and handling. You are not just getting a simple free sample by replying to this offer.

Negative option plans such as this are required to clearly and conspicuously disclose the continuing nature of the offer and to get you to affirmatively agree to it. Whether this disclosure meets that test is for a judge to decide.

This pain relief offer may turn out to be a pain itself if you didn’t read the fine print.

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Sparkle Paper Towels: “Giant” vs. “Big” Roll Reversal


Scanning the supermarket aisles last week, MrConsumer spotted a display of Sparkle paper towels. Some of the single roll packages were marked “Giant Roll” and some of them were marked “Big Roll.”

While the pattern on the towels was the same, and the price was the same, the UPC codes were different. Was one replacing the other?

A quick look at the fine print revealed the difference:



The question was which product was the new one?  As it turns out, the smaller “giant” roll is the new one with six fewer sheets, while the larger “big” roll is the old one.  Who would ever think that the “giant” roll was smaller than “big” roll?

Noting the incongruity between the size names and actual sizes, MrConsumer asked Georgia-Pacific, the maker of Sparkle, the following questions:

“What happened, and why the change, and why the change of name?”

They responded:

Thank you for contacting the Georgia-Pacific Consumer Response Center. Georgia-Pacific places tremendous importance on the feedback we receive from our consumers.

Periodically we change packaging due to marketing decisions, along with other trends in the marketplace. We certainly attempt to keep our packaging fresh and new. Thank you for being a loyal Sparkle Towel user. I certainly hope this information helps and have a great day!

Nothing like a non-answer.

Next time they downsize, maybe the new package will be called “Gargantuan”.

UPDATE: A physical count of the number of sheets on each roll revealed that BOTH had identical amounts — 92 sheets per roll — more than the label indicated. Go figure.