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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Dis-Chem pulls fitness supplement Jack3d from shelves

Posted 03 December 2015

Health24 investigates why the pre-workout supplement Jack3d, manufactured by USPlabs, is still being sold in SA after being indicted in the US for using false certificates of analysis and false labeling.

South African consumers are in the dark after Dis-Chem promptly removed the pre-workout fitness supplement Jack3d from their shelves on 26 November.

This just days after Health24 initiated an investigation into whether the version of Jack3d on sale online from a number of SA vendors, as well as the Dis-Chem group of pharmacies, contained the illegal ingredient 1-3-Dimethylamylamine – DMAA or Methylexaneamine, also known as Geranium extract (see below for other namings).

Continue reading at Health24

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White kidney bean extract for weight loss?

Posted 29 January 2015

White kidney bean extract (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) often pops up with claims of being effective for weight-loss. Even USN has used this ingredient in a product, USN “Carb Binder”, punted as a “STARCH INTAKE INHIBITOR”, and appears under the banner of “RAPID WEIGHT CONTROL” products. The ASA ruled on this product in July 2014

USN’s product contains StarchLite, a brand of white kidney bean extract. The company producing this ingredient is InQpharm. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which gives considers and approves claims for ingredients was asked by InQpharm to accept the claim that this ingredient is effective for weight loss.

EFSA evaluated the evidence and in a decision released on 26 January 2015, concluded “that the evidence provided is insufficient to establish a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of the standardised aqueous extract from white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris Read the rest

Biogen ZMA Testo – ASA ruling

Posted 28 January 2015

Dis-Chem were selling a product called Biogen ZMA Testo with the claim that it has an effect on ‘muscle protein synthesis”. At the Biogen website, the following claims are being made (now discontinued):

ZMA Testo has been formulated using a precise combination of several key ingredients that are aimed at significantly enhancing your testosterone levels. These include Tribulus Terrestris and ZMA, key factors in maximizing free testosterone potential. Tribulus has been indicated to promote healthy hormone function, enhance muscle tone and support athletic training whilst ZMA has been proven to significantly increase anabolic hormone levels and muscle strength in trained athletes”.  It also claimed on the website that this product is effective as a “Natural Testosterone booster” “Increase strength and lean muscle” and “Aromatization Blocker

A complaint was laid with the ASA, pointing out that the claims for the product are not … Read the rest

Erex – ASA ruling

Posted 30 March 2014

This is an old ASA ruling. Erex is a product that claims to assist men by making them “Hard and healthy …naturally” and to benefit and “boost your sex life…”.  A complaint was laid with the ASA in 2007 against these claims and Erex were not able to prove that they are possible, yet Dischem still continues to sell this product today. Now that is  a long life for a scam!

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Dischem Antistress

Posted 03 May 2013

A consumer submitted a complaint to the ASA that the product name, “Dischem Antistress”, and the claim, “Anti-stress”, “Combat stress, anxiety & Insomnia”, are unsubstantiated. He also referred to Clause 4.3 in Guideline 1 of the ASA Code, which states: “In a letter dated 1984 01 27 the Medicines Control Council confirmed that a product cannot claim to relieve stress unless it is registered as a medicine and the claim has been approved by the MCC”.

Dischem responded that they had decided to discontinue the product.

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Dis-Chem Gold Anti-Cellulite Detox – ASA ruling

Posted 16 May 2012

A consumer lodged a complaint against packaging for Dis-Chem’s anti cellulite detox product: “Dis-Chem GOLD ANTI-CELLULITE DETOX”. In essence, the complainant submitted that the name of the product is misleading as it suggests that the product is able to combat or prevent cellulite and/or detoxify the body. This is not true and cannot be substantiated.

Dis-chem submitted that the product has been discontinued and should have been removed from all shelves at all Dis-Chem stores.

The question should be asked, why is Dis-Chem selling this scam product in the first place!? 

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Slimmintz – no proof that it slims

Posted 22 March 2012

Slimmintz placed an advert in the Rooi Rose claiming that the product will result in weight-loss. Unlikely. When confronted with a request for proof, the “respondent disputed the veracity of the complaint, but added that it sees no purpose in defending the complaint.”  Yep. 

” The respondent submitted that there is advertising that had already been booked prior to the objection which cannot be amended, however that all further advertising will not include the offending claims.”

In other words, “we cannot prove that this product works, but we will continue making this claim in advertising already booked, and then continue selling the product but just change our claims a little”.

This is the nonsense sprouted on their website:

“SlimMintZ contains natural ingredients which assist with weight loss by:
1. Increasing your adrenaline levels which promotes an increase in your metabolism.
Therefore helps burn fat without
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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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Dis-Chem refuses to stop selling useless “slimming” muti

Posted 24 August 2011

This article appeared in noseweek August 2011. Permission to reproduce this article here was kindly provided by the editor.

Bloated Claims
Dis-Chem refuses to stop selling useless “slimming” muti

NOSEWEEK has had many a go at snake oil salesmen who distribute products that miraculously enable you to shed pounds, stop smoking or lengthen a penis. But, so far, the supposedly reputable stores that are quite happy to sell this stuff to a gullible public have escaped scrutiny.

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