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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
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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