Repcillin – ASA – Can you believe the claims?

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Posted 24 January 2012 

I first wrote about Repcillin here.

Repcillin is a cosmetic product manufactured from crocodile oil. It makes a number of unbelievable claims, including “[B]alm may be helpful in offering relief from itchy or painful skin conditions such as allergies, eczema, insect bites, sunburn, abrasions and skin infections. It may be helpful in preventing wrinkles” and “MCC (Medical Control Council of South Africa) Registered”.

A complaint was laid with the ASA and John Sweet, the “founder of Repcillin”, was unable to offer any evidence in support of the claims. Appears to be a scam.

[note note_color=”#ddfef7″]Update 20 July 2014

Since the ASA ruling, John Sweet, the CEO of Repcillin, has been good to his word, and removed all of the unsubstantiated claims from the local Website and that of However, there are a number of other “Repcillin” websites making unsubstantiated claims. I asked John about these. His response follows:

I am not responsible for the claims made on the UK nor the content, that is the responsibility of my Worldwide distributor. The Repcillin range sold worldwide is not the same as that sold in South Africa and every product sold there has been through a Stability and Safety test and has been approved to be sold to the public in the EU, USA and Asia.

AfricanCures and Repcillin Alligator Oil are Florida based companies both operated by the same owner Rhys Comely. He has multiple websites registered with a variety of names, many of which include Repcillin as the name of the website. He is breaking the US law by using my Repcillin TM.

To shut these websites down, my Worldwide distributor needed to file the complaint to the FBI which was done last November. We are still waiting for this complaint to be dealt with.

His trading of Repcillin on Amazon and Google have been successfully removed by my Worldwide distributor.

I have no control over any of his websites.” [/note]


Repcillin / HA Steinman / 19382
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate

In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Repcillin cc Respondent

23 Jan 2012

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against the respondent’s advertising on its website, which promotes, inter alia, its cosmetic product manufactured from crocodile oil. The complainant specifically provided the URL, and took issue with the following claims:

“Indications: Repcillin Balm may be helpful in offering relief from itchy or painful skin conditions such as allergies, eczema, insect bites, sunburn, abrasions and skin infections. It may be helpful in preventing wrinkles”;

“MCC (Medical Control Council of South Africa) Registered”;

“Pharmacological classification: A34”;

“Other (Western Complementary Medicine)”;

“This product is safe for use in children”;

“Can be covered with a gauze or bandage to ensure full absorption”;

“Crocodile oil is obtained from licensed CITES registered farms and is registered with the Medical Control Council for medicinal use in South AFRICA”;

“Its use for beautifying the skin has been known since the days of Queen Cleopatra two thousand years ago”;

“Dermatitis eczema … is more prevalent in cities and places where there is low humidity”;

“Dark Circles under the eyes are more common especially with Indian people”.

The following disclaimers also appear:

“The reviews and testimonials on this site refer to Repcillin. We make no claims that Repcillin will have the same results when used by purchasers as circumstances are different for each client and out of our control. No clinical trials have been made”;

“Although Repcillin has healed many skin problems, we make no claims about its healing properties whatsoever”.


In essence, the complainant submitted the claims listed above are unsubstantiated by any medical literature he has reviewed. He added that the disclaimers used are insufficient warning to consumers, and that this product may be nothing more than a scam.


In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into account:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims


The respondent explained that it does not have an in-house legal representative to assist with ensuring that all claims are in compliance with relevant legislation. It is, however, willing to effect any changes that might be necessary. It added that it applied for registration with the MCC and complied in all respects insofar as such applications are concerned insofar as sourcing and manufacturing, it explained that it has to complete extensive questionnaires on its manufacturing practices, and it is one of the few companies within South Africa to comply with registration for Bio-prospecting.

In closing, it confirmed that it has no intention to “scam, mislead, cheat or steal” and has therefore “… with pleasure, already removed those phrases and words, from our website, which have caused offense and concern to Mr Steinman and the ASA”, and “… given instructions to remove the insert from our packaging on the next production run …”


The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking is accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

The respondent submitted that the wording objected to by the complainant has already been removed, and that it would have its packaging insert removed with immediate action as well.

As this appears to address the complainant’s concerns, there is no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter.

The undertaking is therefore accepted on condition that the claims at issue are withdrawn within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide, and is not used again in future.

For the respondent’s guidance, the Directorate wishes to point out the following:

This undertaking applies to the claims wherever they may appear, irrespective of whether or not the complainant specifically identified a particular medium (Refer Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide);

The Code contains very specific requirements in terms of substantiation for any direct or implied efficacy claims. As an advertiser, the respondent is expected to comply with these requirements (refer Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code).

 CamCheck posts related to Repcillin

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22 Responses to Repcillin – ASA – Can you believe the claims?

  1. Janes 30 April, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Despite the ASA ruling the site and marketing material still making claims with out any substance and proof. why there is no follow up.
    Also did you notice the use of the BBC and CNN logos on the soap packaging?

  2. Michele 10 October, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Dear All,
    Not sure about the scam story, but I have had such success treating a dog who has had a “hot spot”. Just nothing helped and the vet treatment was unbelievably expensive and my dog’s skin was looking like Rhino skin. I got a tip from a horse groomer that Repcillin was used on hot spots on their horses. I tried it and it worked. So I actually don’t care whether there is proof or not, it worked for my poor dog!!!

  3. Kuhn 2 February, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    You know … Sometimes there is an honest “snake oil salesman” out there that has a product that really works.
    If it works for you then IGNORE THE NEY SAYERS.

    I’m with Michele.

  4. BigPharma 13 February, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Sounds like the Big Pharma salesmen or “Drs” don’t like the idea of a simple natural cure that harms their chemical medicine sales…..
    I have used Repcillin on warts and eczema for a number of years now with great success.

  5. G J. HOWELL 20 March, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    I have been using Repcillin since December 2012 for Blepheritis i.e. now nearly 4 months. Initially I was suspicious of it because you don’t play around with your eyes. NOTHING else had worked but I have found that using it before sleep at night (rubbing it onto my eyelids), has taken away the distressing effects of this condition. My eyes no longer itch, water, nor do I wake up feeling as if I have to remove a crust before I can see out of them. I can also open my eyes immediately after the application without any awareness that my eyes are sticky or blurry from the oil. I would without any hesitation, recommend this product from my own experience, for the treatment of Blepheritis.

  6. Nico 14 May, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    This attack by Big Brother smacks of the typical bully tactics employed by the established medical establishment that go their “blinkered way” as is/ was the case with Dr. Kilmer Mc Culley and his research into the Homocystine/ Arteriosclerosis and how he was hounded out of the medical research establishment because nobody stood to make a fortune out of his findings. It was more expedient for Big Brother Medical Establishment to sacrifice lives than to forego their huge, extortionist profits.

  7. Harris 14 May, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    Nonsensical logic.
    In the case of Dr Kilmer McCulley, there was research to back up his claims and arguments. In the case or Repcillin, zip, zero, nada, blotto.

    And Dr McCulley was not hounded out, in fact, homocysteine IS accepted to play a role in cardiovascular disease; but although detection of high levels of homocysteine has been linked to cardiovascular disease, lowering homocysteine levels may not improve outcomes.

  8. John Sweet 12 October, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Repcillin Product Information
    Repcillin has passed all the requirements of the Personal Care Products Council and has been issued with a CAS number along with a new INCI registration.
    Repcillin Crocodile Oil is now a recognised new ingredient on the world market and has passed the stringent now requirements Cosmetics Regulation (EC 1223/2009)

    Repcillin has also passed all the required health and safey tests for both the EU and the USA which are the most stringent in the world.

    Documents which were submitted and passed included the following:
    MSDS for Repcillin Balm, MSDS for Repcillin Lip Balm, MSDS for Repcillin Moisturising Cream, MSDS for Repcillin Oil, Repcillin Certificate of Free Sale, Certificate of Manufacturing, MCC Dept of Health cert balm, MCC Dept of Health cert Moisturizer, MCC Dept of Health cert oil, Crocodile oil SABS test, CITES APPLICATION FORM, Repcillin ingredients.

    Composition: Contains Expressed Crocodile Oil
    (Crocodylus niloticus) 18% m/m
    Pharmacological classification: A34
    Other (Western Complimentary Medicine).

    Indications: Repcillin Balm may be helpful in offering relief from itchy or painful skin conditions such as allergies, eczema, insect bites, sunburn, abrasions and skin infections. It may be helpful in preventing wrinkles.

    Crocodile oil 18%
    Balance made up consist of
    Grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, Essential oil fragrence either lavender or vanilla Beeswax (in the balms only)
    No chemicals whatsoever

  9. Harris 20 October, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    John Sweet, the scam artist behind Repcillin, has posted the above comment. Read how we show these to be no more than bald-faced lies at

  10. peta 21 January, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    It seems to me that you don’t do your home work and call people lies just to get people clicking in on your other pages??? some sort of scammer your self getting people to click though your web pages !! How can you tell people that their testimonies are naught! I personally can testify to what Repcillin has done for me, not only for that but my sons warts disappeared after using Repcillin, and a young friend of my whom I recommend to use Repcillin for his eczema has had great success. If you could get The University of Natal to confirm your accusations then I would believe you… as they had done tests on Repcillin and the results speak for themselves…. Any way I am a believer in Repcillin as my friend and I have our own personal testimonies to go by 🙂

    • Harris 21 January, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      We are not saying that people are telling lies. We are saying that before you claim any product is effective for a condition, that you must have good evidence that it will benefit most users of the product, or at least be honest and say that it is only effective for 15% if that’s the case. To claim that a product is “effective for eczema” implies that it is effective for most if not all users, and for that you need proof. Testimonials are different, they are personal beliefs (if true and not fabricated). Same with a negative review: I have had a patient tell me Repcillin does not work – does that mean if does not work for everyone – or only my patient? We have seen many, many adverts that claim to have proof or testimonials, and they are all fake – purely a lie to sell a fake product. So Repcillin needs to show proof that the product can/will work for the average consumer before making that claim. Till now they could not for no study has been done. Can you please supply me with the study done by the University of Natal that confirms that the product works? If true, I will be happy to post it! I am unaware of it.

  11. Tatiana 16 February, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    Dear Dr. Harris Steinman,

    I have been searching for products for my severe eczema and came across of Repcillin range on produced in South Africa

    To deeper my understanding of the product I have done a major research and found your website as a result. I have to say I am thoroughly confused by a few things advertised on

    Firstly, John Sweet claims that every product of Repcillin range is based on pure Nile Crocodile oil. Nile Crocodiles is a CITES listed species (Appendix II) and if his product contains parts, derivatives or extract from a CITES listed species and he is shipping the product outside of the South Africa as a commercial transaction then he needs to apply for CITES permits. The purchaser of the product would have to apply to the relevant CITES authority in his country of residence to obtain the CITES import permit. Both the import and the export permits should be in place before the items are shipped. If you refer to website John Sweet sells his product worldwide, but has no mentioning of any CITES permits (export or import). In fact John Sweet only charges $1 for postage worldwide (!!!). In my opinion there are two possible explanations: either Repcillin products do not contain Nile Crocodile oil or John Sweet simply breaches CITES legislation by the “trading practice” he put in place.

    What am I missing?

    Many thanks,

    ps I am considering writing to CITES South Africa in Pretoria to alert them about this website.

    • Harris 17 February, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      I have asked John Sweet, the owner of Repcillin, to respond to your comment.

  12. john sweet 19 February, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    Dear Tatiana,
    Thank you for your post, I understand why you are confused and have rectified the matter.
    I want to clarify that all Repcillin products are based on pure Nile Crocodile Oil and as a result we do need to obtain export permits from CITES to export our products worldwide.
    We do of course have permits for all bulk Repcillin exported. We send our bulk Repcillin to our distributors worldwide who then repackage and send locally. This saves time, postage and the necessity for buyers to obtain the import permit.
    I will send copies of the CITES permits used directly to Dr Steinman (webmaster of this site) to verify their authenticity, but I would not want to publish these private documents, as they identify my wholesale clients around the world, which of course I would not want my competitors to know.
    I trust Dr Steinman to confirm that he has received these documents and make a post here.
    I apologise for any confusion caused.
    I have now redirected to , Exclusive Worldwide Distributor of Repcillin outside South Africa, to avoid any further confusion. I hope this clears up any confusion.
    Kind regards
    John Sweet.

  13. Harris 27 February, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    I can confirm that Mr Sweet has sent me a copy of a CITES certificate for the export of a specific quantity of Crocodylus niloticus (Nile Crocodile) Oil to the UK.

  14. Tatiana 27 February, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Dear John Sweet,

    Thank you for your response and providing Dr Steiman with a copy of CITES export permit to the UK.

    I am not satisfied with the explanation you have given in your response. I live in Moscow, Russia and a colleague of mine placed an order on your website in November last year. The crocodile oil was posted from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The oil was not repackaged and looked the same as it was on a website, which you now shut down. On a jar it also says that it is made in South Africa. We got in touch with CITES in Russia and they confirmed that Victor, my colleague, needed to apply for import permit to receive the crocodile oil.

    Who is your distributor in Russia? And could you please provide Dr Steinman with CITES export permit to Russia?

    Thank you,


  15. john sweet 28 February, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    Dear Tatiana,

    Repcillin South Africa holds worldwide CITES export permit renewable annually.
    Please contact Repcillin European Office through for further inquires and a contact details of our distributors.


    John Sweet

  16. MARLENE KOVECK 30 April, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    I am multiple chemical sensitive and do not heal well. I cannot use typical treatments for skin lesions and injuries. I began using Repcillin two years ago and it is the only product that has help me heal….it works for me the same way that Neosporin did before I became chemical sensitive.

  17. Gill 15 November, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    Whether all the testing has been done or not, my husband has been using it on a large rodent ulcer on his hand for the past 4 months and it has reduced in size dramatically. More than 50% gone and still shrinking. It’s not the first one either and the other one has only the tiniest of scars left.

  18. lisa 18 September, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    I don’t believe what this product has done to me, I ve been suffering from viginal warts since as I remember, I ve had them cotrized I ve used alot of different products podophiline wart freezers you can name it all, but what happened last week I would say it was a miracle from repicillin, they all fall off after using repicillin for three weeks, I wish I had taken a photo before and after. I don’t believe it, this product works, thanks to the founder. Am so grateful, thanks again

  19. Refiloe 1 June, 2017 at 5:55 pm #

    The people that are complaining about Repcillin do they complain because they have a better alternative to help those in need, or is just a smear campaign?

    My mom always told me if you see something good in the eyes of the other but not yours, If you cannot provide a better alternative, rather look the other way.

    • Harris 1 June, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

      No. We simply ask for evidence (proof) that it works, and if they cannot supply proof, then?

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