Homeopath rejected as expert

Cape Town - The Advertising Standards Authority has declined to accept a homeopath's submission as expert testimony in a dispute over an ad for a so-called "natural" nerve tonic.

It ruled that distributors SA Natural Products can the ad for A Vogel Neuroforce, which was claimed to "provide support to the central nervous system".

The ad, run in the Weekend Argus last year, claimed Neuroforce was "excellent" for people who were depressed, insecure, angry, confused, nervous or tired.

Users were advised to "take it every ten minutes in very stressful situations".

The ASA said in a ruling released on Thursday that a member of the public, Sydney Kaye, had complained the ad represented the product as medically useful when there was no actual evidence of this.

The product, Kaye had said, might well be bought and trusted by people who needed real medical intervention.

In response, SA Natural Products said the ad and its claims were "based on the principles of homeopathy, of which it appears that the complainant is not informed".

In support of its claims, it submitted a letter from Dr David Naudé, clinical director of the department of homeopathy at Durban University of Technology.

The ASA said, however, it was not satisfied that Naudé qualified as an expert in the field of anxiety, depression, emotionality and other mood disorders.

"In addition to this, it is worth noting that nothing before the [ASA] suggests that the respondent’s product as a whole has ever been tested to confirm that it can deliver the claimed effects."

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