Complementary medicine draft regulations published

Posted 26 July 2011

The Minister of Health has issued two sets of draft regulations for comment, each within the next 3 months. 

  • Update: MCC guidelines on “Complementary medicines” released 11 August 2011 – accessible  here
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Don’t waste your money on immune boosters

An article by Nathan Geffen, Published: July 20, 2011 and posted at Quackdown!

"The most prolific claim of alternative medicine products must surely be that they boost the immune system. I have a collection of products purchased from Discom making this claim. You'll find immune boosters in almost any pharmacy including, or perhaps especially, the large retail chains. Even big pharmaceutical companies like Boehringer Ingelheim and Cipla sell immune boosters. But what is an immune booster? And do these products really improve your immunity against disease?"

The article continues at:


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A closer look at the placebo effect

Posted 20 July 2011

From Medical Xpress

Published:   July 13th, 2011 in Medications

Placebos are "dummy pills" often used in research trials to test new  drug therapies and the "placebo effect" is the benefit patients  receive from a treatment that has no active ingredients. Many claim  that the placebo effect is a critical component of clinical practice. 

But whether or not placebos can actually influence objective measures  of disease has been unclear. Now a study of asthma patients examining  the impact of two different placebo treatments versus standard medical  treatment with an albuterol bronchodilator has reached two important conclusions: while placebos had no effect on lung function (one of the  key objective measures that physicians depend on in treating asthma patients) when it came to patient-reported outcomes, placebos were  equally as effective as albuterol in helping to relieve patients' discomfort … Read the rest

Quacks of a feather? How Solal relied on AIDS denialist Anthony Brink

Posted 13 July 2011

Article by Marcus Low and posted on Quackdown!

"Given that state-sponsored AIDS denialism has come to an end, it seems strange that a major supplement company should invoke the work of the AIDS denialist Anthony Brink. But that is exactly what Solal Technologies has done."

Continue reading the article at Quackdown!

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ASA Ruling: Solal Age Related Macular Degeneration claim

Posted 12 july 2011

It has come to my attention that I do not have this ASA ruling, dated 30 August 2010, on CamCheck.

Apologies to readers who were searching for this ruling.

A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA against an advertisement headed “Interesting facts about your health”, that states, inter alia,“FACT 1: The eye damage that causes vision loss in old age, actually starts in early adulthood, or even younger”. The copy further states, “Everyday sunlight exposure causes a type of damage to the eyes known as macular degeneration. This damage accumulates over time and ultimately results in reduced vision and possibly even blindness in old age (known as ARMD: Age Related Macular Degeneration). This damage begins at a young age, even in childhood, but only manifests with reduced vision in old age. To protect your eyes, adults and children should wear UV-protective sunglasses outdoors during sunny … Read the rest

Protein supplements give no benefit to athlete’s performance

04 July 2011
Posted 11 July 2011

Researchers in the Department for Health conclude that protein-based sport drinks are of no benefit to the performance of athletes.

The sports drink industry makes millions of pounds from selling drinks and other supplements to people who want to increase their energy and stamina while exercising.

But when scientists reviewed the effects of the supplements they found they offered no more benefits than the protein found in a normal balanced diet.

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Revivo tea – ASA ruling, again.

Posted 06 July 2011

In Revivo Tea / P Linzer / 13898 (20 August 2009) the Directorate accepted the respondent’s voluntary undertaking to close the websites, and on condition that they were not used again in future. The Directorate also ruled that the respondent submitted no independent verification from a credible expert in this field to show that its product, as a whole, has any effect on HIV and AIDS. The ASA Directorate investigated the complaint as a possible breach of the previous ruling for ongoing ads being placed in the form of an “Ads by Google” below the editorial content. 

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ASA ruling – Simillimum

Posted 06 July 2011

A consumer lodged a consumer complaint against an advertisement headed “Get Slim”, which states “Dr FLN Swainston’s remedy for slimmers has been on the market since 1991. It gives faster weight loss results as it repairs the cause of excess fat tissue and strengthens the function of various internal organs.” It further states, “It is more focused and concentrated than natural products found in pharmacies and health shops, for maximum effect. It is also different from other slimming products because it repairs the whole hormonal system, including oestrogen levels, and in so doing repairs the reason for many women’s weight problem. It also repairs and strengthens the function of the excretory organs …”. The advertisement also lists a website along with other contact details.

In essence, the complainant submitted that the claims made in this advertisement are absurd and improbable, and directly in contravention of … Read the rest

ASA ruling against Solal Tech Omega 3 & 6 claims

Posted 5 July 2011

A consumer complaint against Solal’s newspaper advertisement that was headed “Why omegas are so important and how to choose the safest one”. It also contains, inter alia, the following claims:

  • “… most people are deficient in omega 3. This common omega 3 deficiency can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, arthritis, diabetes and depression”.
  • “The information presented above is the informed opinion of SOLAL Technologies after review of scientific research and medical literature”.  

The consumer cited a number of ASA clauses and regulations that these claims were contrary to. The ASA concluded that Appendix A was no longer applicable for it had been altered in the intervening period between the laying of the complaint and assessing the complaint. However, the ASA did find against the claims by applying other clauses, including Appendix F (References to diseases in advertising).

It is particularly important for readers of … Read the rest

Another ASA Solal ruling

Posted 5 July 2011

A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA against Solal Technologies for claims being made on an advert for "Healthy fast foods". Although the ASA dismissed a part of the complaint based on the fact that Appendix A had changed, (on which the complaint was based), it did uphold the complaint against Solal's unsubstantiated claim of "prescribed by doctors recommended by pharmacists". In other words, for this claim to be true the ASA held that it would need to be generally true as opposed to being applicable only to some doctors and pharmacists.

Although this is a significant ruling on one of the company's slogans, the claims that did not get addressed (for technical reasons) include the unproven statements that "diet does not supply all our nutritional needs" and that skin cells can resist "premature" ageing if provided with "all the nutrients they need". It would … Read the rest