ASA rules against Dis-Chem’s Gold Weight Loss Formula

Posted 28 February 2012

A consumer lodged a complaint against Dis-Chem Pharmacies’ packaging of its Dis-Chem Gold Herbal Weight Loss Formula. The label describes the product as a “HERBAL WEIGHT LOSS FORMULA” and claims that it is “Fast acting with Hoodia & Slimaluma®”.

The complainant submitted, in essence, that there is insufficient evidence to support the individual ingredients or the combination thereof weight loss claims made for the product. The respondent also raised concerns regarding the name of the product as he is of the opinion that it implies that the product has the ability to induce weight loss, which is not true. In addition the first ever peer-reviewed study on Hoodia has shown that it has no effect on weight-loss or appetite suppression.

The ASA ruled in favour of the complainant, agreeing that the evidence to support the claims are insufficient.

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MCC and a decade of deliberate deception

Posted 22 February 2012

This is a statement by the South African Association for Responsible Health Information and Advertising (ARHIA). It has been released on the 10th anniversary of a notice in the government gazette that has undermined the scientific governance of medicine in South Africa.

The Decade

Wednesday 22 February 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of the call up of "medicines frequently referred to as complementary medicines". This "call up" initiated by the Medicines Control Council (MCC) ten years ago was intended to be an audit of the complementary medicines market over a six month period, but its unintended consequences have resulted in a ten year deluge of dubious and unproven products to the detriment of people living in South Africa.

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Solal Breast Protection Formula – ASA ruling

Posted: 17 February 2012

Prof Jobson, claiming to be acting on behalf of the Association for Responsible Health Information and Advertising (ARHIA), laid a complaint with the ASA against Solal’s Breast Protection FormulaTM. Among other, the complaint states claims that the advertising at issue promotes, inter alia, the respondent’s “Breast Protection FormulaTM” product on the basis that “there are nutrients and plant extracts that can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, and are healthy for you at the same time”.  In essence, the complainants disputed the factual accuracy of the respondent’s claims that this product prevents breast cancer in women with a high risk of developing breast cancer and / or women with purported contributing factors to a high risk of developing breast cancer. 

The ASA’s ruling was in part in favour of Solal and in favour of Prof Jobson, with the major finding in favour of the Read the rest

ASA Ruling: Herbex Immune Defence Syrup

Posted: 17 February 2012

A consumer lodged a consumer complaint against internet advertising for Herbex Immune Defence syrup. The advertisement states, inter alia, “herbex immune defence is a powerful syrup containing herbs and vitamins to improve the health of the whole family. A weak immune system may lead to illness, colds, flu and infections.”

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MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution), still unsafe and a scam

Posted: 16 February 2012

We have previously posted about MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution).

There are a few individuals and companies still selling MMS in South Africa, in spite of evidence that this is a scam, lack of proof for claims, and inadequate safety data. One of these is Another is which redirects you to Tina van der Maas, of “beetroot, garlic and lemon for AIDS/HIV” fame, also promotes this product for AIDS, Malaria and Cancer. Surely a death sentence.

Locally the seller/manufacturer of this scam product are:

They claim that the product is registered with the Medicines Control Council. A complete lie.

Health Canada has weighed in, stating: “Health Canada is advising Canadians that using Read the rest

ASA: Solal’s Vit D still not as effective as Vaccine

Posted 15 February 2012

Solal previously ran ads claiming that “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine”. The ASA ruled in favour of a complaint laid with the ASA by a consumer, Kevin Charleston, against this claim, arguing that this claim is false and unproven. Solal submitted new substantiation to support this claim.

Here is the ruling on the new substantiation. It is very interesting how the ASA have phrased or highlighted a number of sentences.

“It would appear that the respondent does not take the time to consider such allegations and merely hurls them at the ASA in an attempt to frustrate the process.” (ASA)

“However, cherry picking individual analyses as the respondent has done and applying them without due consideration is abysmal science.” (Kevin Charleston)

“While not material for the purpose of this ruling, the Directorate would like to express its disappointment at the respondent’s allegation that Read the rest

Solal loses and wins

Posted 08 February 2012

Solal was advertising a product with the claims that Omega-3 reduced the risk of heart disease. A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA arguing that these claims were against Appendix F, which states “1. Advertisements should not make or offer products, treatments or advice for any of the following illnesses or conditions unless recommendations accord with a full product registration by the Medicines Control Council (MCC)” followed by a list of conditions. The ASA ruled in the consumer’s favour, Solal appealed, the ASA ruled in the consumer favour, and Solal appealed to the Final Appeal Committee (FAC), chaired by Judge King.

The FAC has overturned that ruling that the advertisement by Solal was in breach of Appendix F. But this was not a complete win for Solal – firstly Solal have been arguing that the ASA has no jurisdiction over Appendix F. Not so Read the rest

More sex = a longer life? Really???

The local South African magazine Health Intelligence Edition 12 proclaims on its cover: "Passion promotes health – sex for a longer life".


(Note: The highlighting box has been added.) On page 20 the article has the title: "Sex, so necessary for positive health: sex is a buzzword that defies trendsetting and social mores, staying top of mind and tip of tongue" and is written by Kirsten Alexander.  It is seemingly supported by 12 "scientific references" .

The Solal Technologies website Health Intelligence includes the following "product information": "Health Intelligence goes further and deeper [than other health magazines], because our focus falls squarely on the facts. Health Intelligence offers breakthrough science, enabling you to better protect your health. Thoroughly researched and using only the latest, peer-reviewed studies by leading international and local experts, Health Intelligence articles are not only credible, they are revolutionary, all the while offering life-enhancing Read the rest


Posted 03 February 2012

StemEnhance, being sold in South Africa via MLM methods, is a product of Stemtech International.

This product is marketed mainly around the hyping up of the scientist, Christian Drapeau, their Chief Science Officer. The product claims to be “the world’s first all-natural supplement documented to support the release of adult stem cells from bone marrow.” The claims are 1. that StemEnhance releases stem cells from bone marrow, and therefore, 2. that because stem cells have a beneficial effect on the body, that StemEnhance therefore has a beneficial effect.

This is simply sheer nonsense. Firstly, there is absolutely no sufficient proof that StemEnhance releases stem cells in any significant levels, or if it does, whether these stem cells make any significant difference in the body.

In plain language, there is insufficient evidence to confirm that StemEnhance has ANY effect on the body. These are facts and Read the rest

Ozone Health Spa – Ozmed

Posted 01 February 2012

A consumer lodged a consumer complaint against an Ozmed print advertisement promoting its “Ozone Health Spa”. The advertisement was published in the 10 December 2011 edition of the Cape Argus. The advert posed the question “Do You Suffer From?” and lists “Stress”; “Hypertension”; “Diabetes”; “Asthma”; “Arthritis”; “HIV/Aids”; “Low Sex Drive”; “Psoriasis”; Cancer” and “Erectile Dysfunction”. It stated: “Ozone improves blood circulation and kills harmful organisms in the body thus combating the above illnesses”. The complainant submitted, in essence, that the advertisement is in contravention of ASA  clauses, and because the advertiser has no proof of its efficacy claims and because the product makes claims which are only permitted for products registered and approved by the Medicines Control Council (the MCC).

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