17 Jul 2014

Misleading health ads removed

1:33 pm on 17 July 2014

New Zealand's largest health supplement retailer has been forced to retract misleading advertisements by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Health 2000 claimed a product called GO Healthy Vir-Defence could boost immune health and support recovery from ills and chills.

Responding to a complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority found Health 2000 could not prove the product had any effect on the common cold or flu and ordered it to remove the ad.

The complaint was laid by the Society for Science Based Healthcare.

Society spokesperson Mark Hana said while the ads didn't claim specific health benefits, they could mislead consumers.

"If they made more specific claims, for example, if they've said this can prevent the flu then the product would be regulated as a medicine and they could get in much more trouble, so I think these vague terms they're using are to try and imply things, and that actually worries me a bit."

In response to the complaint, Health 2000 said the ad was pre-vetted and approved by the Association of New Zealand Advertisers.

Company spokesperson Sue Pairaudeau insists the ad is not misleading.

Health 2000 says it is appealing the Authority's ruling and believes it has scientitfic evidence to back up its advertisements.