• Claims made by Herbex in a television commercial for its slimming products have been contested.
  • The Advertising Standards Authority said in a ruling it had no choice but to find that these claims were unsubstantiated.

Claims made by Herbex for its slimming products are unsubstantiated, and the company's television commercials have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa.

Herbex, which sells its products through retailers like Game, Takealot and Clicks, recently launched a TV advertisement for its slimming products, ASA said in a statement.

The ad features a spokesperson who claimed she lost 43 kilograms with Herbex since 2006. “I have kept the weight off for 10 years. Herbex has completely changed my life. My health dramatically improved in the last 10 years. So, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, get Herbex,” she says in the ad. The ad claims that Herbex is “South Africa’s No.1 slimmers’ Brand”.

Dr Harris Steinman, medical doctor and consumer activist, filed a complaint with ASA, saying there is no objective evidence that the product has any significant effect on weight-loss.

He contended that the ad needed to indicate that the product has only been shown to be effective in a certain percentage of users; that significant weight-loss is unlikely; and that the product must be used in conjunction with calorie-restricted diet and exercise, or else it is most likely to have no effect at all.

“No product has been shown to have any impact on long term weight-control, and in calorie-controlled diets, the majority of users not being able to sustain these diets,” according to Steinman.

In its response, Herbex said it is not a member of the ASA. It didn’t respond to the merits in the complaint.

ASA said it had no choice but to find that the efficacy claims in the commercial are unsubstantiated. SA's Code of Advertising states that ads can’t contain any claims to efficacy which cannot justifiably be attributed to the use of the product.

The commercial was therefore found to be in contravention of the code, and ASA's members were instructed not to broadcast it.

Herbex is a division of Newgroup, owned by Capetonian Eddie Bisset. Bisset also owns the hemp oil company Cannabex. 

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