IntraMed’s latest transgression involved a range of Ginkgo Biloba supplements that claimed, among other things, to be a “fountain of youth”.
The ASA took issue with the claim, and IntraMed’s justification that there was a body of scientific evidence that validated it.
“We considered that that [scientific] overview was not sufficient in itself to support the claims made in the ad,” ASA wrote in its verdict.
It added: “We considered that claims made in the ad, such as ‘memory problems ... circulation problems, backache, impotence, deafness, heart problems ... all disappear’ and ‘your blood pressure will return to normal ... your cholesterol level will fall’, strongly implied that Ginkgo Biloba was effective in treating the serious medical conditions referred to. We were concerned that we had not seen robust scientific evidence, for example randomised, controlled trials conducted on people, that supported the efficacy claims made in the ad, and we therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.”
In its defence, IntraMed said “a lot of research had been undertaken on Ginkgo Biloba”. This included clinical research in the treatment of vascular, neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
But ASA said it had not seen the full text or methodology of those trials and therefore told IntraMed the ad must not appear in its current form again.
The full text of the ad ran: “You can be as mentally and physically fit at 87 as you were at 32. If you want to ensure naturally, simply and healthily that you no longer suffer from memory problems, that circulation related problems, backache, impotence, deafness, heart problems and tiredness all disappear, then send for your supply of Ginkgo Biloba today. By taking just two capsules of Ginkgo Biloba each day you will cope better with stress; your blood pressure will return to normal, a little more each day; your cholesterol level will fall, your short term memory will improve; after just a few days, you'll feel as though you've fallen into a real fountain of youth.”
IntraMed’s previous transgression involved claims for a prostate supplement in May.