Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Ad From NZ's Largest Natural Health Retailer Misleading

Ad From NZ's Largest Natural Health Retailer Misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority has today upheld a complaint against Health 2000. The complaint, regarding therapeutic claims made in an email advert about "GO Healthy Vir-Defence", was made by the Society for Science Based Healthcare on the 12th of May.

The advert made claims that the product's ingredients "have been found to be effective at keeping lurgies at bay, help support the body when bugs do hit, while helping build immune health", and that the product is "designed to support recovery from ills and chills".

The advertisement also used a variety of vague terms such as "lurgies", "bugs", and "ills and chills" instead of referring directly to illnesses such as the common cold and influenza. In response to this being pointed out in the complaint, Health 2000 stated that:

"The complainant must surely be aware that the use of vague and ill-defined terms is not a choice in this industry."

The only substantiation provided by the advertiser was that for one of the ingredients, zinc; there is some evidence that it may produce a reduction in the duration of a cold when taken at a dose of > 75 mg/day. However, the Health 2000’s product contains 5mg of zinc per capsule, and Health 2000 recommends that only 1 or 2 capsules be taken per day.

The Advertising Standards Complaints Board said:

"the advertisement was likely to mislead consumers as the claims made were [not] substantiated by the Advertiser in breach of Principle 2 of the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code" and that "the advertisement did not observe a high standard of social responsibility to consumers and society required by advertisements for therapeutic products and was in breach of Principle 3 [of the] Therapeutic Products Advertising Code".

As a result, and despite the fact that the advertisement had been approved by the Therapeutic Advertising Prevetting System (TAPS), the ASA ruled to uphold the complaint.

The Society for Science Based Healthcare also lodged a direct complaint with Health 2000 regarding their bimonthly magazine. The June-July 2014 magazine stated that the flu vaccine is an "onslaught of mercury and toxins", despite the flu vaccine in New Zealand containing neither mercury nor toxins. Thiomersal, a mercury-containing preservative, has been the subject of much anti-vaccine fear mongering worldwide despite a large body of evidence supporting its safety at the levels delivered by vaccines. The flu vaccine in New Zealand does not contain thiomersal, and this information is readily available from the website http://www.fightflu.co.nz.

In response to this complaint, Health 2000 has promised to print a "clarification" in the next issue of their magazine stating that the flu vaccine in New Zealand does not contain mercury. They will also be expanding their disclaimer. Health 2000 also said that:

"We acknowledge that as New Zealand's largest natural health retailer our brand is prominent and subject to greater scrutiny, but this is the third complaint from Mr Hanna this year. We wonder why he is not complaining about the outrageous claims we see our competitors getting away with in print."

The society finds it concerning that New Zealand's self-professed "largest natural health retailer" feels "the use of vague and ill-defined terms is not a choice in this industry", and that they seem to be aware of "outrageous claims we see our competitors getting away with in print". Consumers should be wary that not everything they are told by sellers of "natural health" products and services may be true or supported by evidence.

Regarding these claims, Mr Hanna said:

“I have made 19 other complaints about seemingly misleading therapeutic claims this year, and I have not targeted Health 2000 specifically.”

Two other ASA complaints from the Society for Science Based Healthcare were also released today.

One complaint was upheld against Ear Candles By Louise, who had advertised misleading claims on their website that ear candles are able to produce therapeutic benefits such as relieving ear infections and sinus pain.

Another complaint was settled against Simillimum Homeopathic Pharmacy, who agreed to remove misleading claims that homeopathy is "highly effective" and "scientifically proven" from their website.

Last week, another ASA complaint from the Society for Science Based Healthcare against an email advertisement for Camu Camu was settled. The advertiser, In2Herbs, said that:

"The advertisement is misleading and should not have been sent out in its existing context and we apologise for our actions."

The Society for Science Based Healthcare is pleased with these decisions, and hopes that advertisers such as these will refrain from making therapeutic claims that are not supported by rigorous evidence.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Housing Issues: Homelessness On The Horizon For Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers who have held down jobs and contributed to the well-being of New Zealand through their taxes may yet become homeless in late middle age or early retirement without urgent Government action, says The Salvation Army. More>>


Treasury Has Doubts On Christchurch Rebuild And... Auditor-General Follows Up On EQC

Despite the improvements made, EQC could still learn better from complaints and improve its customer focus and interactions... Although the programme is nearing completion, EQC needs to provide the best service possible for the home owners whose homes are still to be repaired. More>>


Man Who Banned 'Into The River' Out The Door: Appointments To The Film And Literature Board Of Review

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has announced seven appointments to the Film and Literature Board of Review... “The new members of the Board... will provide a strong mix of skills and experience to help the Board carry out its functions, while representing a cross-section of society.” More>>


Climate Marches: New Zealanders March For Solutions Not Pollution

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in Paris more than 15,000 New Zealanders have taken part in the Peoples Climate march in Auckland, kicking off the largest climate mobilisation the world has ever seen... More>>


Labour: Little Announces New Shadow Cabinet

“Labour had an impressive intake of fresh faces after last year’s election and newest MPs have now had a year to show what they’re made of. This reshuffle rewards hard work and continues my drive to renew our Caucus line up." More>>


Because Reasons: Someone Reckons David Seymour Is Politician Of The Year

Trans Tasman's 11th annual Roll Call has thrown a curve ball this year, ignoring the likes of John Key, Bill English, and Winston Peters to pick its politician of the year from the ranks of the new generation. More>>


Whaling: NZ Deeply Disappointed By Japan's Decision

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.” More>>


Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news