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Most direct-to-consumer medical tests advertised online found not useful

Posted 30 January 2024

Australian researchers have found most direct-to-consumer (DTC) diagnostic, screening and risk-monitoring tests sold online are unlikely to benefit the average consumer.

Reference: Shih P, and others. Direct-to-consumer tests advertised online in Australia and their implications for medical overuse: Systematic online review and a typology of clinical utility. BMJ Open, 13(12):e074205, 2023

Two of the researchers independently conducted systematic searches using Google and Google Shopping in October 2020 and identified 177 home self-tests, 65 self-collected direct-access pathology tests (DAPTs), and 242 lab-collected DAPTs. Out of all 484 tests, researchers found:

  • 7% had potential clinical utility
  • 6% had limited clinical utility
  • 9% were non-evidence-based commercial ‘health checks’
  • 7% had methods and/or target conditions not recognized by the general medical community

The last category included these methods lacking clinical validity for conditions they’re intended to test for:

  • (a) hair metal and mineral analysis, and mycotoxin test for environmental
Read the rest

OptiWay Food Intolerance Test – ARB Ruling

Posted 28 March 2022

The Directorate of the Advertising Regulatory Board was called upon to consider a complaint against claims made on the Advertiser’s website https://www.optiway.co.za/ and heard during a radio commercial.

The Complainant submitted that there is insufficient evidence to show that this test, which is “… essentially an IgG type test          ” can deliver on its claimed efficacy, that is, can detect foods which result in “food intolerance”.

The ARB  concluded that in light of the adverse finding, the Advertiser is requested to withdraw this claim with immediate effect and within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide.

Decision of the ADVERTISING REGULATORY BOARD

Complainant: Dr Harris Steinman
Advertiser: OptiWay
Consumer/Competitor: Consumer
File reference: 1926 – OptiWay Foods – Steinman
Outcome: Upheld

Date: 28 March 2022

The Directorate of the Advertising Regulatory Board has been called upon to consider a complaint against claims made on … Read the rest

UK ASA Ruling on Yorktest Laboratories Ltd / IgG Food Intolerance testing

Posted 12 July 2021

Three complainants challenged whether the claim “YorkTest define Food Intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction”, and the overall impression of both ads that the test would inform consumers if they had a food intolerance, was misleading and could be substantiated. Another complainant challenged whether the efficacy claims about migraines in both ads and depression in ad (b) were misleading and could be substantiated.

The UK ASA concluded the evidence was insufficient to support the claims.

Similar companies in South Africa make the same unfair claims, .e.g., ImuPro.

ASA Ruling on YorkTest Laboratories Ltd

  • 23 June 2021 ASA

Background

Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, both of which were upheld.

Ad description

A TV ad and website for YorkTest:

a. The TV ad, seen on 29 January 2018, featured a woman described in on-screen text as a “Nutritionist YorkTest Laboratories” standing in a kitchen in

Read the rest

UK ASA Ruling on DNAfit Life Sciences Ltd t/a DNAfit

Posted 12 July 2021

Similar to the South African company, DNA Analysis, who claims that they are able to create a diet based on your DNA, this UK company made similar claims. The UK ASA found insufficient evidence to support their claims.

ASA Ruling on DNAfit Life Sciences Ltd t/a DNAfit

  • 31 March 2021 ASA

A paid-for ad on Instagram for DNAfit, seen on 29 September 2019, featured an animated double helix and captions that stated “We’re DNA. We know all about your body. Fast twitch muscle fibres give you power. Slow give you endurance. And that’s not all we can tell you. Order your kit now at DNAfit.com”. A caption under the animation stated “Unlock the secret to your ideal diet, vitamin need and exercise response”.

Issue

The complainant, who believed DNA testing could not be used to determine an individual’s diet, vitamin and exercise needs, challenged

Read the rest

‘There is no validity’: Unproven blood tests for food sensitivity widely offered in Canada

Posted 15 November 2018

The IgG test, for ‘food intolerance, is being sold in South Africa by among other, ImuPro and Yorktest. As mentioned in other posts on CamCheck, the Allergy Society of South Africa, the American Academy of Allergy and the European counterparts, all state that there is no validity to this test. Yet they continue to be sold to the unsuspecting public.

This article describes this problematic test being marketed in Canada.

‘There is no validity’: Unproven blood tests for food sensitivity widely offered in Canada

More than 2 dozen health groups have warned about misuse, misinterpretation of IgG tests for food intolerance

Read the rest

ImuPro – unconscionable

Posted 07 May 2014

ImuPro, a blood test offered by  WellPro, a division of Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd, is bringing Dr Camille Lieners to South Africa in order to promote this blood test for assessing “hypersensitiivies”. It should be noted that Dr Lieners is neither a medical doctor nor a dietitian. She has a PhD from Luxembourg. She is, in other words, not a clinician, and does not directly care for healthy people or patients. But she is dispensing clinical ‘advice’. It is unclear what her ‘PhD’ was about, and it is unclear why she should be regarded as an expert in the clinical setting.

The owner of  Molecular Diagnostic Services, Dr Dennis York, continues to promote this product for assessing “hypersensitivies” in spite of ASA rulings against the claims, and in spite of international consensus and position statements from allergy societies and representative organisations throughout the world including … Read the rest

ImuPro breach ruling

Posted 11 March 2011

This ASA ruling against the complainant, is interesting for it relates to changing of website contents, integrity, proof and mainly, being careful to copy the contents of a website before laying a complaint!

In essence: I noticed that the ImuPro website was still making claims contrary to the ASA’s previous rulings. I laid a complaint. The ASA sent the complaint to Dr York, who claimed that the links I spoke about were no longer present and probably in the cache of my browser (unlikely for I viewed this page after having cleared my cache – done regularly). The ASA checked his claims that the links were not active and confirmed this to be true. Of course, I stand by my claim.

Considering that the ASA were not able to access the website page, the complaint was dismissed. I re-iterate, I feel so strongly about individuals being Read the rest

ASA ruling: Food Detective

Posted 07 December 2011

In Food Detective / H A Steinman / 15038 (26 March 2010), the Directorate ruled that claims on the respondent’s pamphlet distributed to healthcare professionals for its Food Detective kit were unsubstantiated. The respondent was instructed to withdraw the relevant claims and not use them again in future. In a subsequent ruling, dated 12 November 2010, a breach allegation lodged by the complainant was dismissed on the basis that the amended claims at issue were sufficiently different to those originally considered and ruled on to negate an argument of breach. In a letter dated 2 November 2011, the complainant lodged a new breach allegation against the respondent’s advertisement for Food Detective, as was seen in the programme of a recent Allergy Society of South Africa’s congress. The complainant submitted that the respondent continues to claim that the Food Detective is “an easy to use, rapid test Read the rest

ImuPro / IgG testing, UK equivalent

The South African ASA has previously ruled against the claims being made for IgG/ImuPro testing. Here is the UK ASA ruling against the same/similar product being marketed in the UK.

Read the rest

Imupro again!

Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd is a company established by Dr Denis York. They market the ImuPro test, a blood test using IgG testing to predict foods that may be responsible for a number and range of illnesses. They state, among other: “the internationally respected ImuPro Food IgG Intolerance Test can pinpoint food intolerances”.

In fact, ALL allergy societies throughout the world, including the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EACCI), the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the Allergy Society of South Africa and Australian counterparts, have all issued clear statements stating that there is NO evidence in support of the claims for this test.

In fact, there is evidence showing that the test is BOGUS in predicting adverse reactions to food, and in some instances, may be downright dangerous. Does Dr York care? Considering the repeated ASA rulings against his company for the claims … Read the rest