Monday, 29 March 2010
*Vitagetics - good news for obese mango eaters
Health & Vitality UK Ltd are one of those miracle diet pill companies your mother always warned you about.
UPDATE, 7 May: ASA reply "[The advertisers] have given us their written assurance that the ad is no longer appearing and that they will remove the claim 'VITAGETICS VITA-LEAN. DROP A DRESS SIZE A MONTH WITH THE £1 A DAY PILL' and similar claims likely to breach the Code from their advertising going forward"
Or are they?
Well, the lesson of this advert is that a single clinical trial at a Cameroonian university - involving only 74 participants and not subsequently published in a respectable peer-reviewed medical journal - just isn't good enough.
The company's claims may yet prove to be correct, but I'll let the ASA make that decision.
"I write to complain about an advert in “Natural Health" Magazine (April 2010, page 105), which promotes "Vita-Lean" weight loss pills.
I suspect that the advert may be in breach of two sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.
I have submitted a scan of the advert. I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.
1. The CAP Code, Section 3.1, states "Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation."
2. The CAP Code, Section 50.1, states "Medical and scientific claims made about beauty and health-related products should be backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people..."
3. Its manufacturers suggest that Vita-lean contains a mango extract, "Irvingia gabonensis" .
4. A single clinical trial investigating Irvingia gabonensis exists .
5. It is notable that the trial, at the University of Yaounde (Cameroon), involved a relatively small sample size (74) and may not have been published in a respectable peer-reviewed medical journal ("Lipid World" describes itself as an "Open Access...online journal").
6. I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence to prove the claim that users of Vita-Lean can "drop a dress size a month", and I challenge whether the claim is backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people.
7. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, with the magazine, or with the publishing and alternative medicine industries in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine.
8. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant.