Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Osteo Bi-flex™ - Coming over here, endangering our weaker, indigenous quack products.....

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.



  1. Good stuff Dr* T. I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. There was some publicity a few years back about a positive trial of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. IIRC, the subsequent larger, better-designed trial - or possibly trials - was/were negative. Funnily enough, the negative trial(s) never got the exposure of the positive one.

  2. Hmm, very interesting re the ASA.
    I saw this advert somewhere else a few weeks ago (deffo not the Daily Mail! ??the Radio Times - been racking my brain and can't remember) and had pondered whether the wording was reasonable.
    Obviously the ASA think not.

  3. Just saw this blog. Actually glucosamine and chondroitin works with many people, including me. It doesn't work everyone of us who suffers osteoarthritis. But for those who benefit from it, it should be used because it's great. NSAIDS are dangerous, write about that.

  4. I agree with patrick... i have fine results with this product.

  5. Just started this product. Have had a total of 6 tabs. I have had accute hip pain for about 2 yers. Sitting down is the only way to stop the pain.

    It does seem my hip pain is much less than it has been. If this lessens or stops this pain, they have a lifetime fan.

  6. I originally bought this whilst on holiday in the states, previously I couldn't walk more than a mile without great knee pain for several days, this reduced to a few hundred yards in winter. I have been taking this for over 15 years now, in that time I've skied several times completed 12 mile hikes in the peak district, cycled and only felt any ill effects when I try to do too much fittness wise. For me this drug works and has improved my life massively. Obviously I'm just one person, but from the other comments and the use in the states it would appear I'm not alone.

  7. Man, I use it for a year now and the results are every day better... I'm 59 and my joints are doing so well that I've lerned to drive a motorcycle since a cuple of months, which, again, made me fill even better... So, at least for me (and many others), this product is GREAT.