Formule Naturelle Milk Thistle – ASA ruling

Posted 20 February 2013

A consumer laid a complaint against a Facebook page promoting the respondent’s “FORMULA Naturelle” Milk Thistle product. The page lists the historic use and purported benefits of Milk Thistle as a natural remedy for, inter alia, “… liver and gallbladder disorders …”

The complainant submitted that the advertising lists Silybum marianum as an ingredient. This is a schedule 3 substance, making it illegal for the respondent to be advertising this product to persons other than medical practitioners.

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Phyto-Force Milk Thistle Tincture – ASA ruling

Posted 20 February 2013

A consumer laid a complaint against an advertisement headed: “LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER MILK THISTLE TINCTURE”, which made a number of health claims including “Helps to protect the liver from damaging free radicals” and “helps to protect the liver from toxins of alcohol and drugs including damaging prescription drugs.” 

The complainant submitted that, among other, that milk thistle is a schedule 3 substance, meaning that it can only be obtained on prescription and that it is illegal to advertise it to persons other than medical practitioners.

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Pharmacist’s Code of Conduct

Posted 19 February 2013

I have been reminded that the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) states the following in their Code of Conduct:

[quote]A pharmacist must not give an impression to a potential purchaser that any product or food supplement associated with the maintenance of or enhancement of health is efficacious, when there is no evidence of efficacy, as confirmed by the registration with the Medicines Control Council.[/quote]

This is interesting for many scams are in fact being promoted or sold by health professionals, including pharmacists.

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Alkaline Diet

Posted 15 February 2013

At, the alkaline diet is promoted “for Better Body Chemistry, PH Levels, and Overall Health”. The author writes: “Going to a body and nutrition expert with my husband is one of the best things we’ve done for ourselves. What was the key take away? Warning! Turn Alkaline!”

Is there any evidence that this diet is beneficial?

The Consumers Union of the USA published a report concluding that “alkaline products promise health benefits with little proof to support such claims”.

Read on….

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Pet food advertising is better regulated than complementary medicines advertising

Posted 08 February 2013

By Roy Jobson

In this article, published on Quackdown!, which is quite technical but nevertheless an important read, Professor Roy Jobson of Rhodes University’s Faculty of Pharmacy’s Pharmacology Division explains that we should consider using the current advertising code for pet food as a guide to improving the code for complementary medicines.

Continue reading

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HCG Diet

Posted 6 February 2013

My colleague, Professor Roy Jobson, asked me the other day if I knew of any South African public statements from the Department of Health or other authorities about the use of the “HCG diet.” This diet is advertised extensively, including in South Africa, as an effective way to lose weight.

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Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, on homeopathy (and Oscillococcinum)

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has written a hard hitting opinion on homeopathy (and Oscillococcinum).

He writes:


[quote]Oscillococcinum is a complete hoax product. The method of production is to take an extract of duck liver and heart and dilute it in a 1:100 ratio with water, and to do that dilution over and over, 200 times. Wikipedia, in the article I linked up above, eloquently explains what this means: “Mathematically, in order to have a reasonable chance to obtain one molecule of the original extract, the patient would have to consume an amount of the remedy roughly 10^321 times the number of atoms in the observable universe.”[/quote]

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USN Weight loss product’s claims are ‘misleading’

Weight loss product’s claims are ‘misleading’

Wendy Knowler – The Star

January 30 2013 at 12:18pm 

Ultimate Sports Nutrition’s Phedra-Cut Hardcore “aggressive weight control agent” has become the latest of its products to be found by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to be misleading consumers with marketing claims about its efficacy that have not been substantiated. 

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