OCT 05, 2017 5:43 AM PDT

Clinically Proven? Says Who?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Are we more likely to trust products that have the phrase "clinically proven" on the label? That's certainly what manufacturers want us to think. After all, if a product is "clinically proven," it must be more effective than a product without such a claim, right?

As it turns out, the answer is a little more murky. To be able to put the phrase "clinically proven" on an over-the-counter product, the manufacturer does, indeed, have to had tested the product in an experimental setting. However, the stringency and legitimacy of these tests are not well-regulated. The product could have been tested in anywhere from one person to a million people. And the tests could be poorly designed and biased, since they're usually conducted by the manufacturer.

So if you encounter a product that advertises "clinical proven to...," be skeptical about its claims. As the old saying goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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