In the UK Herbex removes its claims; in SA, Herbex takes the ASA to court

Posted o4 January 2017

In June 2016, a complaint was lodged with the UK Advertising Standards Authority against website claims being made by Herbex in the UK. The claims were that Herbex is a herbal drink that “boosts metabolism, increases energy and controls appetite”. It is likely that, as in South Africa, the UK ASA was provided with evidence based on the botanical substances (ingredients) contained in the product. Herbex then agreed (after negotiation?) to withdraw the claims. This has now been done. The complaint is listed on the UK ASA’s website under “informally resolved cases” at: (scroll down to Herbex (PTY) Ltd). The list is prefaced with the following statement: “After consideration by the [UK] ASA of complaints received, the following companies and organisations agreed to amend or withdraw advertising without the need for a formal ruling.”

In South Africa, Herbex was ruled against by the Final Appeal … Read the rest

Health Intelligence – misguiding the public?

Update 15 May 2012: I have been sent evidence that “horse chestnut” (listed as “esculin”) was scheduled as S3 in December 1979.

Posted 12 May 2012

Health Intelligence magazine states on its front cover as a byline: “The Science of Health.” In its advertising blurb on its associated company Solal Technologies’ website, it is stated to be “Sophisticated. Cutting edge. Credible.” The editorials in Edition 15 (May 2012) are however misleading, and disturbingly so.

The first [text] editorial by Colin Levin bemoans the new food labelling regulations from the Department of Health as having gone too far “[i]n their noble intention to prevent (sic) consumers from misleading claims.” He even quotes the Health Products Association of South Africa (HPA) which is “disappointed” that the regulations don’t address the relationship between certain food (sic) and various diseases.

So what’s the problem?

If Mr Levin and/or his editorial team Read the rest

Biomix breach ruling

Posted 24 January 2012

It is essential to check one's facts before laying a complaint with the ASA. In this complaint to the ASA, I stated that Biomix continued to make false and unsubstantiated claims for their products on websites. Oops, the ASA was unable to view the same URL links. Did I view website pages that were in my browser's cache? Did the website remove the pages before the ASA confirmed my complaint? Likely explanation is the former, in which case I apologise to both the ASA (for wasting their time) and to Biomix for claiming that they were still in breach of the ASA ruling. I was also under the impression that I had initially argued that "Slimming Solution" as in Biomix Slimming Solution, was misleading. Another lapse of memory. Therefore a complaint regarding this aspect has now been laid with the ASA.

Read the rest

Repcillin – ASA – Can you believe the claims?

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 … Read the rest

ASA breach ruling: Hivex

Posted 12 January 2012

Mr Low, on behalf of TAC, lodged a breach complaint against the respondent’s website It was explained that even though some of the wording on the website has changed, it still contravenes the Code for essentially the same reasons as previously identified. Therefore, the essence of that complaint remains unchanged and the advertising is in breach of the ruling and of the Code.

The complainant submitted, inter alia, that the following quotes are essentially similar in message and communication to those originally complained of:

“The HIVEX Treatment is an electro-magnetic treatment which targets proteins in the HIV virus to disable the virus.”

Read the rest

ASA sanctions against Revivo tea

Posted 12 January 2012

In Revivo Tea / M Low / 18020 (21 October 2011) the ASA Directorate ruled that the respondent’s website was in breach of earlier rulings against the respondent’s advertising. The reason for this finding was largely because of claims and testimonials again making references to the product’s effect on the user’s HIV status, their CD4 count and their viral load.

Both parties were afforded an opportunity to comment on whether or not sanctions in terms of Clause 14 of the Procedural Guide were appropriate.

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ASA ruling: “Exploitation of superstitions or beliefs”

Posted 18 November 2011

This is an interesting Advertising Standards ruling for the complainant invoked Clause 29 of Section III which relates to the "Exploitation of superstitions or beliefs":

"Advertisements for lucky charms or products with unproven supernatural properties including those for achieving health, wealth or happiness should not imply that these products can affect the users circumstances unless such statements are substantiated."

Read the rest

A Vogel Neuroforce loses ASA appeal

Posted 11 November 2011

A Vogel Neuroforce makes the claims of being an excellent central nervous system tonic, for among other, when you are depressed, tearful, irritable, and so forth.A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA arguing that the claims are not substantiable. The ASA agreed and on 09 Feb 2011 ruled against the product's claims.

The company, SA Natural Products, appealed against the ruling arguing that the ASA were wrong to regard their "expert" as not adequate to substantiate the claims for the product. In this ruling, the ASA finds that even if they did accept  SA Natural Products' "expert" as acceptable, that his substantiation does not unequivocally support the claims for the product!

How is that for shooting yourself in the foot!

He stated: "In the absence of clinical trials on this specific combination of homeopathic medicines one can only hypothesize that a combination of such medicines Read the rest

Dr Boxalls – ASA ruling

Posted 01 November 2011

A consumer complaint against the respondent's advertising in the form of a flyer distributed which promotes the respondent's "SUTHERLANDIA FRUTESCENS WITH OLIVE LEAF" as ". one of nature's strongest immune boosters in this age of viral epidemics. So effective, it is used as a component to boost immunity in patients with AIDS". It adds that Sutherlandia Frutesence has ". been used traditionally for:", inter alia, cancer and diabetes. In addition, it promoted the respondent's "HOODIA GORDONii" under the auspices that it ". has been used traditionally to suppress appetite, boost energy, control glucose intake, combat obesity, and combat bingeing".

Read the rest

Imazine Ionic Bracelet – ASA ruling

Posted 01 November 2011

A consumer  lodged a consumer complaint against Ionic bracelet packaging for its Imazine ionic bracelet. The complainant added that similar claims appear on the respondent's website. The packaging states, inter alia, "Reduce stress, relieve aches and pains, Improve circulation & mental alertness, Bring the body into balance". In essence the complainant submitted that the advertiser has no credible scientific basis for the claims it makes.

Read the rest