A row over whether magnets have any proven health benefits is to be decided by the High Court.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has accused Magnopulse Ltd of making misleading claims about the therapeutic benefits of its products.
The Bristol-based company makes and sells magnetic pain-relief products for people and for animals, including back and neck wraps, magnetic drinking coasters and pet beds. It charges GBP 49 for a back pad – ‘designed to help backache’ – and up to GBP 99 for a large bed for a dog.
But the OFT wants the High Court to stop the company using adverts which claim its products have proven health benefits that are widely accepted by the scientific or medical communities.
Magnetic therapy is an alternative treatment used for various ailments including joint pain, sports injuries, backache, muscle soreness and period pain.
Magnopulse Ltd maintains that the magnetic fields in its products stimulate circulation, enhance the natural process of healing, increase oxygen levels, decrease the levels of toxins in the blood and promote better physical health.
The company also says that its products create powerful magnetic fields for deep penetration to help ease local pain.
Magnopulse Ltd – which contends that the advertisements are not misleading and has refused to stop running them – has indicated it intends to defend the proceedings. No date has yet been set.
Christine Wade, Director of Consumer Regulation Enforcement said: ‘Where advertisements claim products have therapeutic effects it is important they do not mislead consumers. The OFT is asking the High Court to decide if Magnopulse Ltd’s advertisements are misleading.’
The worldwide market for magnetic therapy products for humans has been estimated at around GBP 3 billion a year.