A database that tracks dubious medical claims.

Response number: 96

Responder: ASASA

Date of response: April 26, 2012

Type of response: ASA Directorate Ruling

The claims must be withdrawn and not used again

Claims dealt with in this response


Vitaforce Forti Plus / R Jobson / 19039
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
M R Jobson Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Pharma Natura (Pty) Ltd Respondent

26 Apr 2012

Prof Jobson lodged a consumer complaint against Pharma Natura's Internet
advertisement promoting its Vitaforce Lifestages range. The advertisement
was published at http://pharmanatura.co.za/vitaforce-Lifestages.aspx.

The advertisement, inter alia, contains a table setting out the following
product-related information:

"Ladyvite Teen Tabs 60 13-18yrs Promotes vitality and reduces symptoms of
Ladyvite Adult Tabs 60 * 18-45yrs Promotes energy and reproductive health.
Ladyvite Mature Tabs 60 * 45+yrs Contains powerful antioxidants to reduce
effects of aging and promotes optimal health.
Mensvite Teen Tabs 60 13-18yrs Supports a healthy immune system, clear skin
and provides energy and vitality.
Mensvite Adult Tabs 60 * 18-45yrs Promotes vitality and reproductive health
Mensvite Mature Tabs 60 * 45+yrs Supports prostate and heart health.
21-Plus Tabs 60 21+yrs Protects body from cell damage caused by smoking,
alcohol and excessive sun exposure.
Forti-Plus Tabs 60 * 40+yrs Protects body from cell damage caused by
smoking, alcohol and excessive sun exposure".

The asterisk used refers to a statement that reads:

"The Adult and Mature formulas in Lifestages all contain the unique
'Carovite' complex which provides additional protection. The 'Carovite'
complex contains key nutrients Beta Carotene, Lutein, Lycopene and
Zeaxanthin which together with Vitamin C and Vitamin E, help to protect the
body's cells from damage and support the immune system and minimize the
effects of aging".

The complainant submitted, in essence, that claims promoting the Vitaforce
Lifestages range of products need scientific substantiation. He added that
the asterisk statements also requires such substantiation especially for the
phrases "additional protection", "help to protect the body's cells from
damage", "support the immune system" and "minimize the effect of aging".

In light of the complaint Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code
(Substantiation) was considered relevant.

The respondent addressed the merits of the matter but in a subsequent
response stated that "all the statements that are raised by the complainant
have been withdrawn or amended and will not be repeated".

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by
the respective parties.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser
provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in
a manner that addresses the concerns raised, that undertaking is accepted
without considering the merits of the matter.

The respondent's undertaking appears to address the complainants' concerns
and there is therefore no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of
the matter at this time.

The undertaking is accepted on condition that the claims disputed by the
complainant are not used again in future in their current format.

The respondent's attention is also drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of
the Procedural Guide, which effectively require it to ensure compliance with
this ruling across all media irrespective of whether or not the complainant
took issue with that specific media.