A friend of mine sent me an advert that appeared in the Daily Mail (don't worry, I used gloves) a few weeks back for Osteo Bi-flex - the number one US joint care brand of placebo pills. You'll be glad to know that it is now available in a "highly innovative, special UK formulation". In fact, they put so much effort into the product, they didn't have time to do the website.
I've written many times before about the weird and wonderful product ranges of nonsense for vulnerable arthritis sufferers, desperate to get their hands on something that will relieve the pain without side effect. Obviously, with such a group of people so willing to part with their cash, companies fall over themselves trying to sell all manner of snakeoil, safe in the knowledge that the placebo effect and cognitive dissonance resolution (we'd rather believe the product worked, even when it didn't, to avoid admitting we were taken for a ride) will ensure tidy profits.
The advert claimed that the product can "help to keep you mobile" and help you to "keep doing the things you love" along with a picture of the chap from an Oscar running, with highlighted joints. It contains all the usual quack ingredients; Glucosamine HCl, Chondroitin, Hyaluronic acid (all in the Treatments not Recommended for Arthritis section of the NHS leaflet on arthritis) and MSM (methylsulphonylmethane - no clinical trials exist which suggest it is effective - link from Arthritis Research Campaign).
I contacted the Advertising Standards Authority and they responded promptly to inform me that they already been in touch with US Nutrition Ltd (Osteo Bi-flex pill peddlers) who had given them the assurance they would not be running the ad again with the claims in question. It's reassuring to see the ASA being proactive about adverts like this, demonstrating that industry self-regulation is achievable, a model that should be impressed on the woeful Press Complaints Commission.
Compare that advert to their overblown US website which at the top states:
Just 2 Coated Caplets a day makes Osteo Bi-Flex® Advanced Triple Strength with Joint Shield™ the easiest way to give your joints the #1 Doctor Recommended Brand.
A potent synergistic combination of the latest in joint care science, Advanced Triple Strength formula includes Glucosamine HCl and Joint Shield™. Joint Shield™ is a proprietary blend of our Chondroitin/MSM Complex and other joint factors, such as Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid
with the bottom of the page which states:
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease
I suppose a disclaimer is better than nothing.
Over-hyped, over-played and over here.