Detox product investigationMedicines regulator probes detox claims

27 March 2006

The medicines watchdog has launched an investigation into the marketing of products for detoxing your body.

The move by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has been prompted by a BBC investigation into a number of detox programmes and products sold in high-street shops.

There are various claims made for such products; they're claimed to enhance the immune system, stimulate poor circulation, correct hormonal imbalances, relieve pain, benefit sufferers of rheumatism, gout or arthritis and flush out toxins.

'No proper medical tests'

But the programme says that despite their claims, the products it investigated haven't undergone proper medical tests and aren't licensed to make medical statements.

Medical claims can be made only after rigorous testing. It's a criminal offence, under the Medicines (Advertising) Regulation Act 1994, to advertise a medicinal product without a licence.

The Doctors on a Detox programme - broadcast tonight at 7.30pm on BBC1 - looks at the medical claims made by several products.

Gillian McKeith's 24 Hour Detox

One of these is Gillian McKeith's 24 Hour Detox - sachets of herbs, fruit and vegetable ingredients. The BBC says that this product claims to 'cleanse and normalise your body's vital organs, including liver, bowels, gall bladder, spleen and abdominal intestine system'.

The MHRA told the BBC that this is a medical claim that required the product to be tested and licensed.

Gillian McKeith's company told the programme that it believed the claims complied with current legislation and that 'packaging is changed immediately if it is found to be out of line'.

A spokesman for the MHRA said: 'Licenses will only be granted after the safety and efficacy of products have been shown in clinical trials. Any product making a medical claim has to prove that quality standard. The consumer has to be able to trust what they buy.'