UK ASA ruling: Zara’s Herbal Tea

The United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority offers a useful assessment of many complaints about products that make medicinal claims. The UK ASA operates slightly differently from the ASA of SA. 

Some of the differences between these bodies and the different systems of medicines regulation in each country are highlighted in the rulings. In this ruling, it is clear that the UK ASA did not accept that claims could be made for this tea because a clinical trial was being planned.

Nor did they accept the reasoning that the marketers "ethos was to promote natural healthcare".

Nor did they accept as evidence that the product had helped cure a dog of cancer.

Here is the story:

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UK ASA ruling: Herbal remedies, Uri Aid, etc.

A direct mailing, for Living & Loving, included a leaflet which made a number of claims for the herbal remedies Uri Aid, ProstAid, ProstBoost and Up Mood.

The Health Food Manufacturers' Association (HFMA) challenged whether the  efficacy claims for the products were misleading and could be substantiated.

The ASA upheld all complaints.

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Detox potion

'Make-believe and outright quackery' – expert's verdict on prince's detox potion Sarah Boseley, health editor of The Guardian, wrote on Wednesday 11 March 2009:

"Britain's leading academic expert on complementary medicine (Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University) has warned that the Duchy Herbals Detox Tincture – a food supplement, which combines artichoke and dandelion and promises to rid the body of toxins while aiding digestion – is based on notions which are 'implausible, unproven and dangerous'."

Prof. Ernst also stated: ""Nothing would be easier than to demonstrate that detox products work," Ernst said. "All one needed to do is to take a few blood samples from volunteers and test whether this or that toxin is eliminated from the body faster than normal. But where are the studies that demonstrate efficacy? They do not exist, and the reason is simple: these products have no real detoxification effects." Read … Read the rest

ASA Ruling: Arthro Joint Forte

The radio commercial states, inter alia, “Bioter Health’s Arthro Joint Forté is a clinically proven, natural solution for the treatment of Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and lower back pain. Its triple-action effect assists with bone and cartilage regeneration, provides pain and inflammation relief and increased flexibility.”

The ASA ruled: "In light of the above, the respondent’s claims are currently unsubstantiated and in breach of Clause 4.1 of Section II."

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UK ASA ruling: Olay Regenerist skin care cream

"We considered we had not seen evidence to show that the product could result in dramatically younger looking skin, similar or equivalent to the effects of cosmetic injections."

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UK ASA ruling: Bodytrim

"We noted that we had not seen specific evidence, such as rigorous trials on people, to show the Bodytrim programme could safely and effectively achieve weight loss. We also noted the weight loss amounts claimed in testimonials in the ad were not stated together with the period involved."

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Herbex – ASA rulings

Herbex makes a range of products which claim to be either homeopathic or herbal preparations. These include:

  • Herbex Slimmers a.k.a. Herbex Original
  • Herbex Slimmers for Men
  • Herbex Slimmers for Women
  • HerbAqua
  • Herbex Nerve Tonic

We intend deconstructing each of these illustrating common threads, including one or more of the following:

  1. No evidence based proof of efficacy for the individual ingredients, or the combination thereof.
  2. Even if there was proof of efficacy for the individual ingredients, the dosage used in the product are far less than that used in the original studies for the ingredient – imagine if evidence shows that you need 200 mg of aspirin to treat a headache, and you are sold a product containing 2mg and making the same claim
  3. Uses dosages greater than homeopathic range and much less than suggested by herbal texts
  4. Contains ingredients which according to references, are actually appetite stimulants
  5. Makes claims which
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