ASA Adjudication on Healthy for Life
Healthy for Life
P.O. Box 216
19 September 2012
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
A four-page circular for shark cartilage capsules included the text "Shark Cartilage with Squalene to the rescue of damaged joints. If you suffer from Osteoarthritis or Rheumatism, or if your joints are stiff and worn, find out how Shark Cartilage with Squalene can Free Your Life From Pain" followed by "Relieves (Chronic) Pain Eliminates Inflammation Reconstructs Cartilage Reinforces the Immune System Increases stamina/energy Rejuvenates the skin Normalises constipation/diarrhoea Balance hormone levels". Further text included an extract from an interview with "Top American Shark Cartilage Specialist Prof. G. Stevens" and included "How can shark cartilage help us? Prof G.S: Shark cartilage really is an extraordinary product. It is 100% natural, easily assimilated by the human body and has no side effects".
Two complainants challenged whether the claims about the product were misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Healthy for Life did not respond to the ASA's queries.
The ASA was concerned by Life Healthcare's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We noted the leaflet listed a variety of medical conditions and also included claims that the product could reconstruct cartilage, balance hormone levels, and reinforce the immune system. Some of the claims that the product could be used with a view to treating or preventing disease were classed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as medicinal claims, and we understood that Healthy for Life were required to hold a marketing authorisation for the product from the MHRA before marketing it to UK consumers. Because Healthy For Life did not hold the relevant authorisation, we did not investigate the ad further, but reminded Healthy for Life of their obligation to check their claims were legal under medicines law (CAP Code rule 12.11). We concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 12.1 and 12.11 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Life Healthcare to ensure that their marketing complied with the relevant statutory requirements in future. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.