Date: 24 April 2013
Media: Internet (e-tailing)
Sector: Health and beauty
Number of complaints: 1
Complaint Ref: A12-216677
An ad on Amazon for International Bodyworks’ NHL HPUS Blend Essential Formula Fast Weight Loss Diet Drops. The headline stated “Lose a Quick Pound Per Day on the Dr Simeons & Cura Romana VLCD [Very Low Calorie Diet] Diets!” Under the heading “Product Features” text stated “For Use [sic] with the Dr. Simeons and Cura Romana 500-Calorie Diets … Lose a Pound per Day, 2 Stone per Month! Resets the Hypothalamus – Burns Fat and Detoxifies the Body … HPUS Blend (Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States)”.
The complainant challenged whether the claims could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
International Bodyworks said the product had not been determined as a medicine and the product contained amino acids that helped with weight loss. The advertiser said the product was manufactured in the USA and that the MHRA regulated European licensing only. They said they were not affiliated with Dr Simeons or the Cura Romana 500 calorie diets but referenced them as the product could be used alongside these regimes and it could also be used with other diet plans. Furthermore, they said the ad did not claim their product contained hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) and any suggestion that their product contained hCG was false and was based on the reference to the Dr Simeons diet.
They also said the listing included the text “It is recommended that you seek the approval of your doctor before any diet. If you are pregnant or nursing you should not be on this diet”.
The ASA noted the ad included the word “homeopathic” and made claims which we considered were medicinal, we therefore considered this rather than substantiation for the claims. Because medicinal claims were made and homeopathic medicinal products must be registered in the UK, the product required a marketing authorisation, which we understood it did not have. We noted the advertiser’s assertion that the product was manufactured in the USA. However, because it was promoted to UK consumers an appropriate marketing authorisation was required.
We acknowledged the advertiser was not affiliated with Dr Simeons diet regime. However, text stated “For Use with the Dr. Simeons … Diet” and we considered this was likely to encourage consumers to consider using both products in conjunction and therefore promoted this regime. We understood that some ‘Dr. Simeons diets’ included the use of hCG, which was not authorised or registered for use in the UK because it was an unlicensed medicine, and therefore its promotion was not permitted.
Because the ad promoted unlicensed products we concluded the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 12.11 and 12.20 (Medicines, medical devices, health related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told International Bodyworks to withdraw their ad until a marketing authorisation had been obtained to market the product in the UK.
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