ASA Ruling: Solal – Supplement for vision loss

Dr Laithwaithe lodged a consumer complaint with the ASA against a print advertisement that appeared in the May edition of Fair Lady magazine. The advertisement is headed “Interesting facts about your health” and states, inter alia,“FACT 1: The eye damage that causes vision loss in old age, actually starts in early adulthood, or even younger”.

In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertiser makes claims for this product for which there is no medical evidence. How did the ASA rule?

Read on:

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ASA Ruling: Faith Drops (Damaansa) / TAC

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) laid a complaint with the ASA against FAITH drops, which claims to be able to cure AIDS, cancer, and a number of other conditions.

How did the ASA rule?

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ASA Ruling: Solal: “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine”

Solal placed an advert in newspapers claiming that “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine.” 
 It further lists the facts of Vitamin D as, inter alia,:
• “Vitamin D is extremely safe. There are virtually no negative side effects from people taking vitamin D supplements, even at seemingly high doses, such as 2000 IU per day (five times the current South African RDA).”

A consumer complained to the ASA, which found that the claims were not substantiated. However, the ruling is more fascinating for a number of reasons: Read on!

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UK ASA ruling: Optislim

A very interesting ruling from the UK ASA: 

" We noted that the on-screen text in the ad stated "When used as part of a calorie controlled diet & healthy lifestyle", but considered that this was insufficient to remove the implication in the voice-over and visuals of the ad that Optislim could replace exercise for those wishing to lose weight."

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Vogel’s Echinaforce

A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA against Vogel’s Echinaforce advert. The advertorial was headed, “A. Vogel Echinaforce proven in-vitro to inhibit Swine Flu, Bird Flu and Seasonal Flu”. The advertorial contained, inter alia, the claim “in the first round Echinaforce was effective against 97.85% of the viruses”. Reference is also made to Echinaforce’s prophylactic and antibacterial qualities.

In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertorial is misleading as the product is not registered with the authorities in any way. She also contested the validity of the claim that the product is able to protect against, inter alia, Swine Flu, arguing that this study has not been subjected to any form of peer review. 

How did the ASA rule?

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Homemark Detox Foot Pads

Posted 11 August 2010

I have previously posted that Homemark continues to suggest that the FDA has approved these footpads, or that they were tested in an FDA approved laboratory. I have previously posted that the FDA have categorically stated that these claims are false. The ASA has shown my letter to Homemark who have dismissed it, and the ASA, not trusting me, have been trying to get a personal response from the FDA, to no avail they inform me. Out of frustration, I tried the FDA again, and on 10 August 2010, they responded (remember, Homemark have been using these claims for years!)

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Multiple organ failure – death of consumer protection?

“This hard-hitting commentary by Harris Steinman and Roy Jobson appears in the August 2010 South African Medical Journal (SAMJ).”

“Multiple organ failure has clearly resulted in an inability to efficiently clear or reject deleterious medicines and substances, resulting in financial and health trauma to consumers, with possible consequences including unnecessary deaths.”

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Pseudoscience “guide” published

Dr. Robert Carroll, a retired college professor who for many years taught courses in ethics and critical thinking, has published a brilliant 20-point guide to creating your own pseudoscience. The techniques include making big promises, using lots of jargon, lacing promotions with references to government conspiracies, charging high prices, using testimonials and celebrity endorsements, and obtaining a degree from a diploma mill.

Carroll RT. Creating your own pseudoscience (part two). Skeptic's Dictionary, June 4, 2010

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Simply Slim – Taking the piss out of consumers

The interesting tale of the slimming pill that was and isn't and may be…

Thanks to noseweek ( for permission to reprint this article published in the August 2010 edition.

 IT CERTAINLY GRATES that anyone can make a fortune selling "slimming" tablets to a gullible public. That the fellow can simply replace one scam with another, when things get hot, truly irritates. But that he can openly sell a schedule 5 drug is downright frightening, and a sad indictment of the current state of the regulatory system in South Africa.
Yet there it is: ex-used-car salesman Dirk Uys managed to keep his Simply Slim lark going for some nine months.
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Miracle mineral supplement / Faith Drops

Posted 03 August 2010

In the USA, a product called Miracle mineral supplement is sold claiming to be able to cure malaria, AIDS, and a number of other conditions. The science is very implausible. It is also sold by individuals in South Africa. It may be similar to Faith Drops ( ) (which claims to be able to cure AIDS and cancer – also implausible). In fact, we could use a much harsher word to describe these products.

Are they the same product? They do resemble each other in some instances. Telling is the statement “Miracle mineral supplement” at the bottom of the Faith Drops URL at

Are we the only ones warning consumers that this product can harm you more than heal you? No, the USA FDA MedWatch warns: “Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS): Product as consumed produces a potent bleach that can cause serious harm”.

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