How Solal Technologies uses legal threats to stifle legitimate criticism

A hard-hitting article by Marcus Low, and posted to Quackdown!*,  starts: 

"Solal Technologies sells supplements that it claims are remedies or prophylactics for a whole range of diseases, including HIV, cancer, hypertension and depression. Naturally, Solal has faced criticism for these claims." 

"Solal's response has been to instruct their attorneys to send lawyers' letters threatening to sue their critics."

Quackdown! is a joint project of the Treatment Action Campaign, Community Media Trust and several individuals.

The article continues at Quackdown!

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Solal – Too much sugar claim No. 2

 Solal Technologies placed in the Durban Mercury of 03 March 2011, in which the claim is made that “[T]oo much sugar may accumulate fat and make learning difficult”. 

 

The advert continues: “[S]tudies have shown that excessive sugar consumption can boost the body’s production of cortisol, a hormone that causes fat accumulation. Sugar excess is not good for the brain either. 

A study published in the medical journal Neuroscience showed that sugar suppresses the brain’s neurotrophic factor, responsible for learning, memory and plasticity (the ability of the brain to learn new things” 

Solal supports this advertisement with two references:

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Easy Thin

The weight-loss product, Easy Thin, is a product owned by Sandi Brittz. The product is advertised at w ww.easythin.co.za. Can you believe any of the claims on this site?

Here is a clue. Sandi Brittz is a member of the team (and Johan Brittz) that also sells Organo Slim and Be trim. Both products do not a shred of evidence that they work (never mind whether they are safe). Without evidence, these products may be nothing but scams.

The site claims “Easy Thin is a South African product, manufactured by a registered pharmaceutical company. Both company and product is fully registered with the South African Medicines Control Council. Registry Number: 017201″. Firstly, this product is NOT registered with the MCC. Fact! Secondly, how it is possible that Easy Thin, Organo Slim, and Bet Trim, all have the same registry number? mmmmm….. Looks like a big … Read the rest

Antioxidants Fall From Grace

The popular dietary components may not do any good, and may actually harm.

To anyone who feels guilty for not gorging on antioxidants—actually, make that “antioxidants!,” which seems to be how grocery manufacturers think of them—redemption is nigh. For years the media, food labels, dietitians, and even scientists who should know better have bombarded us with advice to load up on antioxidants: compounds found (mostly) in fruits and vegetables that mop up free radicals, which are highly reactive clusters of atoms that have been fingered as the evildoers responsible for aging and for illnesses from cancer to heart disease.

Not so fast. First, studies piled up showing that taking antioxidants—even such common and seemingly innocuous ones as beta carotene and vitamins C and E—as supplements was not beneficial to health and might even be dangerous, though the reason for the danger wasn’t clear. (One always pays attention when a study … Read the rest

Dis-Chem challenged on their support of Patrick Holford

In an open letter to the CEO of Dis-chem, Ivan Saltzman, published on March 25 2011, the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and the TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) challenged Dis-Chem for their support of the self-styled “Nutrition Expert” Patrick Holford. Holford has made a career out of making unsubstantiated and false claims about the benefits of vitamins. The letter asked why his company, Dis-chem, which is trusted by the public to provide evidence-based sound medical advice, hosted Holford.

Here is the letter in it’s entirety:

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Power Balance flunks scientific tests.

A controlled trial of college athletes has found that wearing a Power Balance bracelet did not enhance their performance. The study, sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), was conducted by John Porcari, Ph.D. and other researchers from the University of Wisconsin. Each athlete completed two trials of four tests: trunk flexibility, balance, strength and vertical jump. 

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Verifile – CV Verification & Background Screening Service

"A recent survey of 1,500 UK employers found that 71% had encountered lies on CVs and 49% said it was a serious problem when recruiting staff." The Guardian, March 2004

Don't believe a health professionals credentials? Don't believe that the diploma or degree is from a bona fide accredited university or college? This site may be able to assist in checking whether the degree or diploma is from a validated institution of higher learning: Verifile.

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Beware of Johan Brittz!

Posted 21 March 2011

I assume you ask, why target a specific individual, and why?

Simple explanation:

Johan Brittz*, according to the registration information at Uniform.co.za, is the domain registrant (owner) of the websites (and products) Organo Slim and Betrim. As posted before, there is absolutely not a shred of proof that these products work, and therefore may be nothing more than scams.

In spite of previous ASA rulings, Johan Brittz simply advertises a product with a different name in M-NET’s TV Guide (Magic). In the April 2011 a new advert appears for a product called Microslim (www.microslim.co.za). Be cautioned, there is not a shred of evidence that this product has any efficacy.

*[email protected]
37 Sunset Av., Llandudno, 7806
phone : +27 21 790 7556

A colleague has pointed out that the product, Easythin, (www.easythin.co.za) is owned by Sandi Brittz, and the product claims to be registered with the Medicines Read the rest

Nu Slim – ASA ruling

Posted 18 March 2011

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against a Nu Slim internet advertisement that was published on www.nuslim.co.za The advertisement states, inter alia, the following claims: “Well done to all our customers in the Nu Slim family that achieved exceptional results during the past 36 months. Testimonials are pouring in with amazing success rate.” “Nu Slim IS STILL and WILL STAY the safest way to lose weight in South Africa!” 

The complainant added that the reference to testimonials that are “pouring in” are unlikely to be true, or at best, have not been proven. There is also no proof that the individuals lost weight due to the product advertised as opposed to simply following a diet. Similarly there is no evidence that this product “will change the life of many South Africans …” as claimed. This is presented as more than mere hyperbole.

Updated 20 February 2012Read the rest

ASA Ruling: A Vogel Prostasan

Consumer complaints were lodged against SA Natural Products’ print advertisement appearing in, inter alia, the Weekend Argus and Sunday Times, as well as an internet advertisement that was published on the website www.sanatural.co.za during 2010.

The advertisement promotes the respondent’s Prostasan capsules contains the following claims: “A. Vogel Prostasan may relieve your: Frequent urinating during the day and night Incomplete emptying of the bladder Urinary urgency Pushing and straining while urinating”. It also contains a lengthy discussion on the product and its claimed benefits as well as references to trials done and recommended usage.

In essence, the complainants submitted that the advertisement is misleading as it there is no proof that the respondent’s product can alleviate the symptoms stated in the advertisement. 

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