On 9 April, 2020 the web site for BergaMet Pro + claimed, ‘Ingredients in BergaMet Pro + provide a resistance to infectious pathogens such as SARS and COVID-19’ (appended).
This implied claim to prevent or cure COVID-19 resulted in a complaint to the TGA (AC-NTI67OV3/2020).
The ingredients of BergaMet Pro + (ARTG no: 253193) are:
- alpha lipoic acid 50 mg (a naturally occurring fatty acid found in many foods),
- ascorbic acid 25 mg (Vitamin C),
- chromium picolinate 200 microgram (a form of the mineral chromium)
- citrus aurantium (Bitter orange) 650 mg and
- Olea europaea (European olive) 100 mg
The product is sponsored by DOJS Holdings Pty Ltd trading as Nathealthsolutions (ABN: 45 106 823 572).
The complaint pointed out that there is no evidence that the ingredients in this product can ‘provide a resistance to infectious pathogens such as to SARS and COVID-19’, that the latter are not permitted indications for complementary medicines and this advertisement breaches many sections of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No 2) 2018.
Nine ACA have publicised this matter:
ACA noted: ‘The TGA says it’s now investigating that case and it will take action if the law was breached’.
On 24 March 2020 a TGA media release said, ‘The TGA is monitoring non-compliance, particularly in relation to the advertising of products that claim to prevent or cure COVID-19 and will take action in relation to any advertisements that do not meet the requirements, including those that seek to mislead consumers.
Well, in my opinion, the law has definitely been breached by the implied claim to prevent or cure COVID-19. It will be interesting to see what action the TGA takes, especially as there have been four previously upheld complaints about BergaMet products. These included a request from a previous Complaint Resolution Panel determination (CRP-2016-12-001) for a retraction of misleading and deceptive claims (appended).
I have asked the TGA to order a similar retraction and apply infringement penalties to DOJS Holdings Pty Ltd.
The TGA have yet to publish an outcome for the latest BergaMet complaint (AC-NTI67OV3/2020).
Following the Nine ACA story the offending claim was removed. The last time I complained about a web site that was rapidly taken down when the media got involved the TGA said, ‘No action taken as no breach of therapeutic goods advertising legislation identified’.
This despite my complaint containing dated screen shots of the breaches because, by the time the TGA got around to looking, the offending material had been taken down! See: 30 January 2020, Nutrient Avenue, Herbs of Gold Burn with Svetol 60t, AC-ECJ0MAHF/2020.
So the TGA outcome for complaint (AC-NTI67OV3/2020) is awaited with interest.
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