Better Choices for Life

Diabetes Care Product Categories

The Better Choices for Life program brings the American Diabetes Association®’s (ADA) evidence-based guidelines and perspective directly to consumers so they can make informed choices about the products they purchase.

Non-food products eligible for the program are those that make a claim regarding their use for those with diabetes or for overall health. The ADA reserves the right to decide if a product is eligible for review based on its claims. Not all product types or categories will be reviewed for this program. Currently we consider the following types of products and services:

  • Diabetes Supplies
  • Over-the-Counter Medications

Note: The program does not evaluate products requiring a prescription, nor any pharmaceutical products requiring a prescription.

The ADA follows established policy for this program and utilizes the same criteria for non-food products as is defined for advertising and promotional opportunities.

Products, devices, therapies, and services that are exempt from FDA review or can claim FDA clearance are still subject to individual review by the Association for advertising or promotion. The Association review will consider:

  • Any medical claims regarding the product's ability to help people with diabetes, which must be substantiated by published clinical evidence to support such claims.
  • Whether the product falls into the realm of “unproven therapies” that may not be advertised or promoted (see the American Diabetes Association Position Statement, “Unproven Therapies”).
  • Whether the product is something that is normally used by a wide range of consumers with or without diabetes (e.g., lotions or OTC remedies), in which case any product labeling or advertising that specifically targets people with diabetes must not make unsubstantiated health claims to distinguish it from other products of its type. Labeling should refer to “people with diabetes”, not “diabetics”.
  • Acceptance of a product or service for advertising or promotion does not mean the respective product or service itself is approved or endorsed by the Association, and no claims to that effect are allowed in product materials, websites, etc.
  • Prior approval of a product or service does not constitute permanent approval: all products/services will be re-reviewed every two years, and any changes to the product, including any changes to the packaging or promotional materials, must be reviewed at the time of the change.
  • The Association reserves the right to reject any product for advertisement or promotion for any reason, which need not be disclosed to the party submitting the product.


Unproven Therapies

Advances in modern medicine are achieved through basic and clinical research using well-established principles of experimentation. These include controlled clinical trials to assess the efficacy and safety of new products and therapies. Results of these clinical trials are published in peer-reviewed journals so they can be assessed by other scientists and can be replicated to confirm the results. This is the universal standard for demonstrating the value of a device, product, or therapy whether it requires regulatory approval or not.

In contrast, unproven therapies tend to share certain characteristics:

  • Their developers and proponents generally do not possess strong clinical or scientific credentials.
  • The rationales for these therapies often contain misapplication of data from the scientific literature.
  • Proposers often provide exaggerated or unrealistic claims about the value and effectiveness of the therapy (i.e., “cures diabetes in 6 weeks”, or “an all-natural treatment that is more effective than diabetes medications”).
  • They are generally communicated outside regular channels of scientific and clinical communications, and the details of the therapies are often unclear or unstated.
  • Their proponents sometimes discourage or refuse consultation with or review by reputable physicians or scientists.
  • Their developers and promoters often claim that a medical or scientific “conspiracy” has been convened against them.

The ADA reserves the right to refuse space to advertise or promote any device, product, service, or therapy that it believes has not been adequately proven to be safe and effective or which makes health claims that exceed what has been proven.