UK herbal product told to withdraw advert

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Advertising

A Guernsey-based company has been told by the voluntary watchdog,
the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), to withdraw an advert
for a prostate supplement because it failed to provide supporting
evidence for its claims.

IntraMed Ltd's product, Pro-Stavita, claimed to reduce night-time lavatory visits for men suffering from prostate problems and "rejuvenate"​ sex lives. The product, that retailed at about €59 for a two-month supply, contained botanical ingredients including stinging nettle, willow herb and couch grass. Part of the offending text in the product's marketing materials stated: "Put your mind at rest, Pro-Stavita relieves prostate problems quickly and restores you to a peak of sexual fitness". ​ The ad refers to a complementary medicines practitioner and author, Michel Bontemps, who was involved in the development of the product. It goes on to state: "Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death in men!...This means that you can avoid a lot of discomfort and perhaps even an operation…After extensive research and experimentation, [Bontemps] discovered three plants with quite incredible powers to relieve prostate problems."​ Aside from the lack of supporting evidence, a complainant said the adverts would "scare [customers] into buying the advertised product rather than seeking suitably qualified medical treatment for prostate problems." Verdict ​In its assessment of the complaints the ASA noted IntraMed had failed to provide backing evidence for the product's claims. "We considered that the image of a surgical procedure on a prostate was excessively graphic and was therefore likely to cause fear amongst some recipients and could discourage them from seeking professional medical advice for a serious medical condition,"​ ASA said. It said the advert also breached the advertising code by making medicinal claims about an unlicensed product. "We further considered that the ad was irresponsible and likely to discourage readers from seeking qualified medical advice,"​ ASA said. ASA also questioned the veracity of testimonials that appeared in the advert. "We considered that, in the absence of any substantiation, the testimonials had not been proved to be genuine and misleadingly implied that the product was efficacious at treating prostate problems."​ IntraMed said it would comply with the ruling and withdraw the ad. ASA recommended it seek advice from its Copy Advice team.

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