Posted 3 July 2013
Another scam from Platinum Lifestyle Products / Miracle Magnesium.
We know from science that very, very few substances can be effectively absorbed through the skin. That is why so little orthodox medicines are sold this way. There is zip proof that magnesium is absorbed through the skin to have any effect on the range of conditions this product claims to be effective for. Big scam.
|Magnesium Inflama Roll-on / R Jobson / 21944|
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Professor M Roy Jobson Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Platinum Lifestyle Products cc Respondent
18 Jun 2013
Professor Jobson lodged a consumer complaint against a Platinum Lifestyle pamphlet promoting its “Magnesium Inflama Roll-On”. The pamphlet was displayed outside a health shop in Grahamstown.
The advertising carries a heading “Roll your Sinusitis AWAY!” and refers to the following conditions:
“(bee stings, mosquito bites)”
In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertising is misleading and requires substantiation as he can find no scientific evidence to suggest that magnesium on its own, let alone the product, has any efficacy for the conditions listed in the advertisement. He examined the ingredients listed on the respondent’s website, and explained what effects some of the ingredients may have, but emphasised that these do not correlate with the claims made. The complainant added that the advertising incorrectly refers to the product as a supplement when it makes medicinal claims, which is not appropriate or correct in terms of the relevant legislation.
RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses were taken into consideration:
• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation
• Section II, Clause4.2.1 – Misleading claims
All reasonable attempts were made by the ASA Directorate to elicit a response from the advertiser, but the advertiser failed to respond.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.
Clause 4.1 of Section II states, inter alia, that an advertiser must hold documentary evidence to support all claims that are capable of objective substantiation. Clause 4.1.4 of Section II requires that documentary evidence other than survey data shall emanate from, or be evaluated by an independent and credible expert in the particular field to which the claims relate and be acceptable to the ASA.
The respondent has submitted no evidence to support the advertising claims despite being pertinently challenged on this issue.
Accordingly, there is currently nothing before the Directorate to prove (in accordance with the provisions of Clause 4.1 of Section II) that the product does in fact have any effect in assisting with the ailments mentioned in the advertising. The advertisement is therefore in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II.
It also stands to reason that the advertisement is misleading by virtue of the fact that the respondent is making unsubstantiated efficacy claims.
In addition, the disclaimer at the bottom of the advertisement reads “Platinum Lifestyle makes no claims that this product is a cure or that any medication should be discontinued. It is a supplement. If you are sick, consult your doctor”.
While the Directorate does not have the jurisdiction to decide whether or not the product is correctly referred to as a supplement (the complainant alleges that it is not), the disclaimer at best serves to contradict the initial impression created.
The overwhelming message sent by the advertisement is that this product will “Roll your Sinusitis AWAY!” (i.e. cure sinusitis). It also references many symptoms associated with sinusitis such as nasal congestion, blocked nose, sinus drip and snoring.
To have a disclaimer, in barely legible font hidden at the bottom of the advertisement that states otherwise is disingenuous and at best contradicts the overall communication, rendering the advertisement misleading.
Given this, the advertising is in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II.
In light of the above:
The advertising and relevant claims must be withdrawn;
The process to withdraw the advertising and claims must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of this ruling;
The withdrawal of the advertising and claims must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide;
The advertising and claims may not be used again in its current format and context in future until such time as the respondent has submitted appropriate substantiation and the Directorate has accepted same by means of a new Directorate ruling.
The complaint is upheld.
Given that an adverse ruling was made and that the respondent did not address this issue, the Directorate will issue an Ad Alert to its members with reference to the advertisement.
It is also noted that the respondent was recently sanctioned in a related matter (refer Magnesium Inflama Spray / Dr HA Steinman / 19028 (4 June 2013) for details) to have all its advertising pre-cleared for a period of six months, ending 4 December 2013. It is hoped that this will serve as a learning process for the respondent which will avoid future incidents of making unsubstantiated efficacy claims.