Complaint: 14/664

Salud New Zealand Facebook

Details

Complainants
M. Coulhurst
advertisers
Salud New Zealand
Year
2014
Media
Digital Marketing
Product
Health and Beauty
Clauses
Decision
Upheld / Settled
ASA Links
Website Listing
Decision Document

Document

COMPLAINT NUMBER
14/664
COMPLAINANT
M. Coulhurst
ADVERTISER
Salud New Zealand
ADVERTISEMENT
Salud New Zealand Facebook
DATE OF MEETING
10 February 2015
OUTCOME
Upheld



SUMMARY

The Facebook advertisement for Salud Colloidal Silver health products promoted the health benefits of colloidal silver. It included the statement: "Most prescription antibiotics kill only a few different disease-causing organisms, but Colloidal Silver is known to successfully kill over 650."

The Complainant said the effectiveness of sliver products against any disease or illness is not supported by relevant scientific findings. Therefore, the Complainant said the advertisement was misleading. The Complainant also said the advertisement was missing information to encourage responsible use.

The Complaints Board said statement: "Most prescription antibiotics kill only a few different disease-causing organisms, but Colloidal Silver is known to successfully kill over 650," had not been adequately substantiated by the Advertiser. It also said mandatory information to encourage responsible use was required to be included for such a product. Therefore, the Complaints Board found the advertisement did not observe a high standard of social responsibility required for advertisement of this type.

The Complaints Board ruled to Uphold the complaint.

[Advertisement to be removed]

Please note this headnote does not form part of the Decision.



COMPLAINTS BOARD DECISION

The Chairman directed the Complaints Board to consider the advertisement with reference to Principles 2 and 3 and Part B1 Requirements 2 and 7 of the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code. This required the Complaints Board to consider whether the advertisement was truthful, balanced and not misleading and claims were valid and able to be substantiated. The Code also stated that advertisements must contain the mandatory information to encourage responsible use and observe a high standard of social responsibility.


The Complainant said relevant scientific findings are that silver has no known effectiveness against any disease or illness and Argyria is a known serious side effect resulting from the use of colloidal silver. Therefore, the Complainant said the advertisement was misleading.

The Complaints Board then considered the statement: "Most prescription antibiotics kill only a few different disease-causing organisms, but Colloidal Silver is known to successfully kill over 650."

The Complaints Board expressed concerns at the comparison the Advertiser made between colloidal silver and prescription medicine.

It then turned to the response from the Advertiser and noted where the Advertiser stated: "Pure Colloidal Silver is used safely by millions of people around the world and there is a massive amount of peer reviewed literature extolling its benefits." However, the Complaints Board noted the only evidence supplied by the Advertiser to support the efficacy of colloidal silver were testimonials from doctors.

The Complaints Board said testimonials, while anecdotal evidence, were not peer-reviewed studies published in reputable scientific journals required to substantiate such an absolute therapeutic claim.

When considering the Complainant's concerns about the possible side-effect, Argyria it noted where the Advertiser stated: "The only known side effect of internally ingested silver is an extremely-rare, purely cosmetic one called Argyria. This condition is not caused by the ingestion of pure, properly-produced colloidal silver, but by the irresponsibly excessive consumption of impure product containing silver compounds such as chloride, oxide and nitrate of silver. These contaminants can result from the use of impure water (such as tap water, mineral water etc), impure silver electrodes and/or additives such as proteins or salts used during the electrolytic production process."

The Complaints Board agreed and noted the product would contain a low dose of silver. However, the Complaints Board said mandatory information to encourage responsible use was required to be included for such a product.

In light of these findings, the Complaints Board said the advertisement was misleading and the claims made had not been substantiated. As such, the Complaints Board said the advertisement did not observe a high standard of social responsibility required for advertisement of this type. Therefore, the Complaints Board said the advertisement was in breach of Principles 2 and 3 and Part B1 Requirements 2 and 7 of the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code.

Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to Uphold the complaint.

Finally, the Complaints Board noted that the Therapeutic Advertising Pre-Vetting Service (TAPS) was a user-pays service available to all advertisers making therapeutic claims to help minimise the risk of breaching the ASA Codes of Practice as well as other industry codes and relevant legislation. Information about TAPS is available at http://www.anza.co.nz. It was recommended that therapeutic advertisements use the TAPS process to help with code compliance.





DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISEMENT

The Facebook advertisement for Salud Colloidal Silver health products promoted the health benefits of Colloidal Silver. It included the statement: "Most prescription antibiotics kill only a few different disease-causing organisms, but Colloidal Silver is known to successfully kill over 650."

COMPLAINT FROM M. COULTHURST

This complaint regards the branded Facebook page of Salud New Zealand, "Colloidal Silver Health Products by Salud" which, owning to the context and content, I believe constitutes advertising for Salud New Zealand.

The Facebook page and associated posts contain deceptive information regarding the lack of side effects of colloidal silver products. Argyria is a known serious side effect resulting from the use of colloidal silver.

Part B1 Requirement 2(a)(ii) of the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code requires that advertisements to consumers for medicines must a warning if the product has known serious adverse effects. Since Salud NZ make several therapeutic claims on their Facebook page, their collidal silver products must comply with this code.

Part B1 Requirement 3 of the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code requires that advertisements must contain claims that are valid and have been substantiated. Salud NZ claims that colloidal silver products are effective against many types of illnesses and "over 650" disease causing organisms.

The relevant scientific findings are that silver has no known effectiveness against any disease or illness.

The Facebook page contains many links to both Salud NZ's online store and to their specific products. Any reasonable reader can only conclude that the claims made on the page specifically apply to the colloidal silver products sold by Salud NZ.

References supporting my complaint include:

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/silver

"Colloidal silver is not safe or effective for treating any disease or condition."
"Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects."

http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/98fr/081799a.txt

"all over-the-counter (OTC) drug products containing colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts for internal or external use are not generally recognized as safe and effective and are misbranded."

http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qwa/QWA_05463_2003/5463-2003-rodney-hide-to-the-minister-of-health

"Distributing material containing therapeutic claims for colloidal silver products would breach the Medicines Act 1981."

It should also be noted that the page contains a number of "What our customers say" posts that contain testimonials from customers. Many of these state or imply that the product has beneficially affected their health.

Although it does not fall within the ASA's jurisdiction, the advertiser should be made aware that the Medicines Act 1981 Section 58(1)(c)(iii) effectively prohibits health testimonials from appearing in medical advertisements.

THERAPEUTIC PRODUCTS ADVERTISING CODE

Principle 2 - Advertisements must be truthful, balanced and not misleading.
Claims must be valid and have been substantiated.

Principle 3 - Advertisements must observe a high standard of social responsibility.

Part B1 Requirement 7 - Testimonials in advertisements, where not prohibited by law, must comply with the Code, be authenticated, genuine, current, typical and acknowledge any valuable consideration.
Part B1 - Requirement 2

Advertisements must contain the mandatory information to encourage responsible use.

Any advertisement for therapeutic products must include all of the required statements in paragraphs (a) to (e), other than where:

  • the advertisement does not contain a therapeutic claim and displays only the

  • brand/name/picture of the therapeutic products or

  • the name of the sponsor and/or

  • the price and/or point of sale; or

  • the advertisement is an unbranded, or a reminder, or a sponsorship advertisement.


All required statements in paragraphs (a) to (e) must be prominently displayed or communicated, i.e. standing out so as to be easily read from a normal viewing distance, and/or be heard and understood.

For all required statements, other than 'Always read the label', words conveying the same meaning may be used.

(ii) If the product, when used according to the directions:

  • has known serious adverse effects (in terms of severity and clinical importance);

  • or is contraindicated for a known group of people because it could cause serious adverse effects which are reflected in the regulatory requirements on the label or in the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), an appropriate warning of those effects must be given


(Where a warning reflects the regulatory requirements for the label of the Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), an approval for use of a restricted representation is not required).

Most prescription medicines would be likely to meet the above criteria. Categories of non-prescription medicines which would be likely to meet the above criteria include sedating anti-histamines, pseudoephedrine and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs."

RESPONSE FROM ADVERTISER, SALUD NEW ZEALAND

In response to the complaint received by ASA from M. Coulthurst (complaint 14/664) we are forwarding voluminous substantiation of the efficacy and safety of colloidal silver.

We are surprised that ASA has forwarded an unsubstantiated complaint to FB prior to the committee making a determination. This has resulted in considerable loss of revenue due to FB taking down our page, thereby disconnecting us from 3500 followers of our products.

Pure Colloidal Silver is used safely by millions of people around the world and there is a massive amount of peer reviewed literature extolling its benefits.

The only known side effect of internally ingested silver is an extremely-rare, purely cosmetic one called Argyria. This condition is not caused by the ingestion of pure, properly-produced colloidal silver, but by the irresponsibly excessive consumption of impure product containing silver compounds such as chloride, oxide and nitrate of silver. These contaminants can result from the use of impure water (such as tap water, mineral water etc), impure silver electrodes and/or additives such as proteins or salts used during the electrolytic production process.

Silver is a naturally present trace-element in the body and any excess of pure silver is easily excreted. The standard concentration of CS is 10 parts per million or less.

The following link provides an array of statements and references by MDs, scientific experts in the field and institutions regarding its therapeutic efficacy.

We hope that this satisfies and informs the committee regarding the use, safety and efficacy of colloidal silver.

http://www.kevaind.org/download/What%20Leading%20Doctors,%20Experts%20&%20Institutes%20say%20about%20silver.pdf

Following is another extensive set of medical and scientific support for the use of Colloidal Silver:

"...you should be advised that we recently completed an extensive review of the scientific literature on the safety of silver, especially as it relates to its one known potential side effect, namely, Argyria.

Argyia is an irreversible discoloration of the pigment (skin) caused by excessive silver intake or chronic exposure to silver by certain tissues. The amount of silver required to develop Argyria is estimated [by the EPA] to be 3.8 grams per day.

By comparison standard 10 ppm colloidal silver contains silver in amounts equaling less than 1 milligram of silver (1,000 micrograms = 1 milligram; 1,000 milligrams - 1 gram)...

...which therefore represents an amount approximately 1/500th to 1/1000th of the amount of silver considered to be a risk in the development of Argyria.

Most cases of Argyria reported in the medical literature over the last 100 years involved chronic intravenous or intramuscular use of the silver preparations, most often involving a silver drug prescribed by physicians which in most cases contained silver nitrate.

Other cases of Argyria reported in the medical literature involve application of silver preparations used for many months or years in the treatment of the eye or vagina for certain diseases.

We could not locate a single case of orally consumed colloidal silver manufactured in the last 25 years causing Argyria in our review of the literature.
This is probably due to the low levels of silver contained in such preparations, since only very small amounts of silver are needed for its antiseptic effect.

Humans consume approximately 100 micrograms of silver every day in the diet. Additional amounts within this range would be considered safe by all reasonable estimates, especially if the amount needed to develop Argyria would be the equivalent of 380,000 micrograms (or 3.8 grams) of silver a day.

As for the efficacy of silver preparations, we found considerable scientific evidence published over the last 75 years that a number of silver compounds can be effective germicidal (antiseptic) agents against several hundred pathogenic organisms."

-- Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D., Emeritus member of the New York Academy of Sciences, member American Association for the Advancement of Science, former Chairman of the Food Policy Council of the National Council for Public Health Policy, member of the Government's Commission on Dietary Supplements

"Hundreds of thousands of doses of oral colloidal silver and thousands of doses of intravenous colloidal silver are given every month in the United States.

This is usually done to treat acute and chronic infections including those associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM).

The effectiveness of the use of oral and intravenous colloidal silver in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia was presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine...

...(Identifying the Causes and Exploring the Newest Treatment Options for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Environmental Sensitivities) in October 2003...

The extremely low level of colloidal silver used at 23 parts per million (ppm) has been shown to have little or no potential for toxicity while having the significant potential for clinical benefit.

The effectiveness of oligodynamic silver's antimicrobial action at extremely low doses in combination with its potential immune stimulating actions, makes oligodynamic silver an ideal naturally occurring substance in the treatment of CFS and FM."

-- Dr. Kent Holtorf, M.D., Holtorf Medical Group, "Safety and Efficacy of Intravenous Oligodynamic Silver"
Dr Holtorf is the founder and medical director of Holtorf Medical Group, which specializes in innovative evidence-based therapies for hard-to-treat and poorly understood illnesses.He received his doctorate of medicine from St. Louis University, with residency training at UCLA. He's also the Endocrinology Expert for AOL Health. And he's regularly featured as a medical expert in major magazines and on TV news, including Fox News and others.

"Colloidal silver just might be the next germ-fighting wonder drug. And not just for the serious threats making headlines: It's also effective against bacterial infections like strep throat, viruses like the flu, and fungal infections like Candida.

No matter how much a germ mutates, it can't change enough to escape the damaging effects of colloidal silver. And in the process, the silver doesn't harm human tissue or kill off the good bacteria in the intestine the way antibiotics and other medications do...

...Beginning in the 1970s, several independent researchers found that silver ions easily destroy Candida and other fungi. But it wasn't until a pilot study during the mid- 1990s that included human patients suffering from terminal AIDS that medical researchers established solid evidence showing just how quick and effective silver ions can be in the treatment of Candida as well as HIV.

In this study, nine individuals who were near death were divided into two subgroups. One group suffered from HIV and a terrible Candida infection. The other group suffered from both HIV and an extreme form of malnutrition (known as Wasting Syndrome).

The researchers found that in both groups the colloidal silver was capable of killing pathogens and purging the bloodstream of germ defenses in order to restore the immune system."

-- Dr. Jonathan Wright, MD, Tahoma Clinic, WA -Graduate of Harvard and University of Michigan Mediclal School


"Today, many antibiotics are losing the battle with germs. Fortunately, the best germ killer, which was discovered over 2,000 years ago, is finally getting the proper attention from medical science - natural silver. I sincerely recommend that everyone have electrically generated colloidal silver in their home as an antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal agent."

-- Dr. Joseph Weissman, M.D. board certified immunologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California Medical School

"Trace amounts of silver are in the bodies of all humans and animals. We normally take in between 70 and 88 micrograms of silver a day, half of that amount from our diet.

Humans have evolved with efficient methods of dealing with that intake, however. Over 99 percent is readily excreted from the body.

Is silver harmful to humans? Unlike other metals such as lead and mercury, silver is not toxic to humans and is not known to cause cancer, reproductive or neurological damage, or other chronic adverse effects."

-- Dartmouth University Toxic Metals Research Program


"Taken internally, colloidal silver can be used to fight infection. It has been shown to be effective against more that 650 disease-causing organisms, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria and the fungus Candida albicans."

-- Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A Balch CNC and James F Balch, M.D., pg 66

"Dr. Marcial-Vega has had considerable clinical experience with a colloidal silver preparation that contains between 20 and 25 parts of silver per million parts of water.

This preparation has proven effective in patients with HIV in quickly resolving pneumonias due to pneumocystis, streptococcal, staphylococcal, klebsiella and fungal infections. In the hospital, the therapy is administered by a special nebulizer as well as orally."

-- Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work, by James Howenstine, M.D., pg 262

"Just in his last decade of medical practice, Dr. Marcial-Vega has treated hundreds of people with a variety of viral, fungal, and bacterial pneumonias. And of all the available treatments, he has seen the greatest success with nebulizer treatments using a colloidal silver preparation.
Silver has long been known for its anti-bacterial properties, and the nebulizer allows the mineral to reach the lungs and kill harmful bacteria. Now, in the face of the anthrax threat, he believes it can do the same thing with anthrax spores.

'We are constantly filtering all kinds of bacteria through our lungs,' explained Dr. Marcial-Vega. Normally, a healthy body is able to kill off any dangerous bacteria on its own. But in the case of illness, like pneumonia, or an especially lethal bacteria like anthrax, the body may need some extra help.
For anthrax prevention, he recommends a daily nebulizer treatment with 4 cc's of colloidal silver. By following this protocol, Dr. Marcial-Vega says your body can likely kill off the anthrax spores before you even know you were exposed.

Colloidal silver may even be useful to treat cutaneous anthrax with the preparation being directly applied to the affected skin. Dr. Marcial-Vega says there are no concerns about using this treatment because colloidal silver has no toxicity and no side effects.

He has used the colloidal silver nebulizer treatments on infants, the elderly, and AIDS patients with pneumonia and has seen great results. All have responded quickly to the treatment even when no other approach seemed to help, and no one reported any adverse reactions."
-- Health Science Institute e-alert, October 2001

"Orally, take one teaspoon three times a day for any type of infection.

Nebulization- Excellent for respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Get a nebuliser machine and a mask. These can be found at most pharmacies.

Put 15 cc (two teaspoons) in the included receptacle, turn on the machine and breathe deeply and slowly for approximately 15 minutes or until all the liquid is gone. Repeat three times a day for colds, pneumonias, bronchitis and sinusitis.

If it makes you cough too much, add 20-30 grains of sea salt to the liquid just before nebulizing and shake.

This is a natural antibiotic that contains water and silver in a colloidal suspension. It is effective against bacteria, viruses and fungi."

-- Dr. Victor Marcial-Vega, M.D.

"The data suggests that with the low toxicity associated with colloidal silver, in general, and the broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity of this colloidal silver preparation, this preparation may be effectively used as an alternative to antibiotics."

-- Dr. Ron Leavitt, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, Brigham Young University

"Colloidal silver is very effective in treating periodontal disease (gum disease). My patients enjoy the clean fresh breath as colloidal silver immediately cleanses the mouth and destroys odor-causing bacteria. I would recommend that colloidal silver solutions be used after each dental procedure or surgery to eliminate infection and speed healing."

-- S.R. Cobble, D.D.S.

"...Ionic silver is increasingly being recognized for its broad-spectrum antimicrobial qualities and the fact that it presents virtually none of the side-effects related to antibiotics.

Ionic silver is entirely non-toxic to the body...Reports of any pathogens developing resistance to ionic silver are rare. Some reports indicate it even kills drug-resistant strains of germs.

Ionic silver is also a powerful tissue-healing agent, so much so that it has been used topically for decades in burn centers and currently represents one of the fastest growing sectors - if not the fastest growing sector - in wound care today.

The fact that ionic silver is effective against a very broad range of bacteria is well established and, due to recent advances in the delivery of ionic silver together with the problems associated with antibiotics, it is being used in a rapidly growing range of dietary-supplement, medical, and industrial products.

...A study at the University of Arizona recently showed ionic silver to be effective against the coronavirus that researchers use as the surrogate for SARS."

-- Herbert Slavin, M.D., founder and director of the Institute of Advanced Medicine, Lauderhill, Florida

"...the collective authoritative medical literature has documented efficacy of silver's virotoxicity against over 24 viruses...A broad-spectrum anti-viral agent that really works is needed to combat over 200 viruses that cause Upper Respiratory Tract Infections.

Undoubtedly oligodynamic silver fits this bill...Emerging medical studies confirm the stellar, broad-spectrum virotoxic efficacy of oligodynamic silver both in vitro and in vivo."

-- Dr Eric Gordon, MD and Dr. Kent Holtorf, MD, Townsend Letter for Doctors, "A Promising Cure for Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Pandemics"

"Often called the 'penicillin of alternative medicine,' colloidal silver disables the enzymes that bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi rely on to use oxygen. Unable to 'breathe,' the organisms die and are eliminated from the body.

While an antibiotic drug may kill several types of disease organisms, colloidal silver delivers the kiss of death to at least 650 disease organisms. In addition, colloidal silver can be taken over long periods of time because microorganisms cannot develop a resistance to it.

...Among the conditions colloidal silver has controlled are severe burns, acne, boils, candida and yeast infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive problems and colitis, ear and sinus infections, herpes, shingles, lupus, malaria, viral and fungal infections, blood parasites, rheumatoid arthritis, and ringworm.

Colloidal silver also has been effective in treating cancer and AIDS if used at certain point in the disease cycle when infected cells have reverted to a more primitive way of using oxygen, however these uses of colloidal silver are not clinically proven.

...The recommended dosage of colloidal silver depends upon the concentration of the product you are using, which is expressed as "ppm" or "parts per million."

Concentrations range from 5ppm to 500ppm. In general, the greater the ppm the larger the colloidal silver particle size. This variable is important because it takes a smaller particle size to kill a virus vs. bacteria.

Some companies have developed technology that allows increased ppm while preserving a smaller particle size.

Colloidal silver can be taken internally in a small amount of distilled drinking water. It also can be applied topically to cuts and open sores and can be inhaled or sprayed using an atomizer."

-- The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Physician & Practitioner Administered Procedures and Therapies


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