Posted 18 November 2020
- For the second time since 2018, Herbex’s weight loss claims have been dismissed.
- The offending advert for the Ultraslim range promised to “balance blood sugar” and “prevent belly fat”.
- After scrutinising the product’s ingredients, the Advertising Regulatory Board ruled that claims made were not supported by scientific evidence.
- Herbex, once again, refused to cooperate with the adjudication process.
There is no scientific evidence to support claims made by Herbex that its Ultraslim product range balances blood sugar levels, prevents belly fat or increases the metabolism.
This is the latest ruling by the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) in response to a complaint laid by consumer activist and medical doctor, Harris Steinman. Herbex, represented by D M Fialkov Attorneys, refused to cooperate with the ARB process and argued that the regulatory body had no jurisdiction over its advertisements.
This was the same response delivered in 2018, when Steinman’s complaint regarding Herbex’s claims about its Fat Burn for Men product was handled by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Attempts to engage with Herbex were unsuccessful and the ASA was forced to rule on the case using evidence submitted by Steinman. The commercials were deemed misleading and ASA members were instructed not to accept advertising for Herbex Fat Burn Concentrate for Men.
Two years later, on 10 November 2020, Herbex’s claims were, once again, placed under the microscope. The offending advert, screened by M-Net during a primetime broadcast, made a series of claims associated with swift weight loss. Steinman, once again, submitted evidence to support his complaint.
While the ARB noted the issues of jurisdictional limitations, it processed the complaint to provide guidance for members and broadcasters in terms of the Electronic Communications Act. Steinman’s submission, that neither the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database nor PubMed held evidence to support Herbex’s efficacy claims, was upheld by the ARB.
Ingredients featuring in Herbex’s ‘metabolism enhancer’ include green tea, ginger root, cayenne pepper and Siberian Ginseng. Ingredient’s associated with the product’s ‘digestive aid’ include Bibhitaki fruit powder, Haritaki Fruit powder and Indian gooseberry. The scientific evidence, particularly when analysing low doses as presented in Ultraslim’s capsule form, remains inconclusive for ingredients both individually and in combination.
Claims made by Herbex in reference to its Ultraslim product range were ruled in breach of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code of Advertising Practice. As such, members of the ARB and broadcasters bound to the Electronic Communications Act have been advised to dismiss adverts issued by Herbex which contain the offending claims.