Wednesday, 7 April 2010

*Haymax - stuff it up your nose

The website for this hayfever remedy uses the sneaky trick of quoting studies on - errr, a different product entirely.

UPDATE, 28 Apr: "I understand you object to efficacy claims for the product because the trial information you have read on the website suggests that the product was not adequately tested. While I appreciate your point we can only look at the claims in the ad and all this ad states is that the product is a nose balm that traps pollen. At present we do not have grounds to challenge the claim as there is currently no evidence of the product having been bought by a consumer and found not to work as described. The website might not necessarily contain all the research and trial information for the product and we couldn’t challenge the efficacy claims without further reason to consider that they might be misleading. As such I’m afraid we will not be taking further action."

Haymax claims to be an award-winner - but does it actually work?

Let's hope the advertisers hold some real evidence for its efficacy. ASA complaint follows.

"I write to complain about an "advertorial" (marked "healthy promotion") in "Healthy" magazine (April 2010, Issue 77, p49). I understand that the magazine is sold exclusively in Holland & Barrett stores.

The advertorial promoted Haymax, a hayfever remedy.

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 can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.

1. The advertiser's website[1] provides details of a 2004 trial, which does not appear to have been published in any medical journal and does not appear to include a control group.

2. The advertiser's website also provides details of a separate trial which, for the avoidance of doubt, relates to a product which is not Haymax.

3. 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."

4. 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..."

5. Under Sections 3.1 and 50.1, I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence to prove any of the following claims, and I challenge whether the claims are backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people:

(i) The direct claim that Haymax traps pollen inside the nose
(ii) The implied claim that Haymax reduces the symptoms of hayfever

6. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, 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.

7. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant.


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