ASA rules vitamin patch does not reduce alcohol-induced ‘flush’

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/MSPhotographic
©iStock/MSPhotographic

Related tags: Asa, Alcohol, patch

UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) bans an advert from US firm Redee Solutions after the agency questions whether its vitamin, antioxidant and plant extract patch can address ‘alcohol flush.’

In its ruling​ ASA details its objections to the ad in which the agency cites a lack of adequate evidence to support claims the transdermal patch could prevent, reduce or eliminate redness caused by alcohol.

As well as ASA’s concerns, the agency also upheld one complaint that believes the advert, seen on Facebook in June of this year, encourages excessive drinking, and is ‘socially irresponsible’.

“The ad presented the Redee Patch as a “Solution to Alcohol Flush” and implied that its use would allow consumers to drink alcohol without suffering from the effects of alcohol intolerance,”​ the ruling states.

“We considered that it was irresponsible to encourage people who could potentially have an adverse physical reaction to even small amounts of alcohol to consume it.”

Redness reaction

The ASA also believe the ad did not refer to alcohol intolerance, and redness was a common reaction to excessive drinking even for those without an intolerance.

The authority adds that many consumers who saw the ad would understand that it referred to flushing caused by excessive alcohol consumption, rather than any consumption by those with an intolerance.

“In that light, the ad implied that the Redee Patch could counter the effects of excessive drinking, which could encourage consumers to consume alcohol in an irresponsible manner,”​ the ruling continues.

“On that basis, we considered that the ad was socially irresponsible and therefore breached the Code.”

New Jersey-based Redee Solutions countered, arguing the alcohol flush reaction did not happen after excessive drinking, but in some people consuming very small amounts of alcohol.

They add their customer base could benefit from the additional support of antioxidants and vitamins to help support healthy liver enzyme activity and process alcohol and its metabolites in a healthy way.

Redee Solutions say they do not encourage excessive drinking, and their website and all their packaging remind their customers to drink responsibly.

The firm went on, adding that they did not claim the patch could reduce or eliminate redness stating their ingredients were found to help detoxify alcohol’s metabolites and help support healthy liver enzyme activity.

Research evidence inadequate

Despite Redee Solutions’ inclusion of research studies, ASA points out that eleven of them were in abstract form only.

In addition, four studies assessing the effects of the ingredients contained in the patch describes the processing of alcohol in mice or rats.  Another study assesses the effect of one of the ingredients on rats dosed with paracetamol.

“We did not consider that tests on animals alone were sufficient to demonstrate the efficacy of the product in humans,”​ ASA writes.

“Furthermore, none of the studies tested the Redee Patch product itself. In most of them, the intervention was administered orally or via injection, which was not reflective of the claimed mode of delivery of Redee Patch. Neither did any of the studies measure skin redness as an outcome.”

“Taking into account the evidence provided, none of which assessed the efficacy of the Redee Patch itself or that of a product with a similar mode of delivery, we concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.”

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