If you are in a Multi Level Marketing (MLM) company in the ‘health and wellness sector’ you may be promoting and selling products that you believe can help people with their health problems or that promote wellness.
YOU MUST BE VERY VERY CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS!!!
Some typical social media material promoting these products have made some pretty bold claims…
These products have been made to sound wonderful and can cure nearly anything! The thing is though, in Britain, you can only make a health claim about a product if it has actually been shown to help with a condition. And if you are advertising anything, the adverts have to be truthful. These rules are serious and are designed to protect the public from quacks selling snake oil and taking advantage of people. People who are often vulnerable or desperate, or both.
Reasons why you cannot make false health claims-
- You need to know a few things when taking a medicine. You need to know it will do what it says it will, what the side effects are, and that the benefits will outweigh the possible risks. This information can only be gained through proper clinical trials conducted by professionals and the product monitored by official channels. If a product has not been through the proper testing methods, you do not know that it will help any condition. You will be lying if you say it can help when you don’t know that.
- The Advertising Standards Authority take a dim view of false advertising. They do not just cover TV and print adverts, but also cover promoting online. This includes claims made on Facebook. If a health claim is investigated by them and it is found to be non-compliant, they will ask for it to be removed. If it is not removed, it can be referred to trading standards.
- It is illegal to make health claims without the right licence. This is overseen by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
- It is illegal to make claims that an unregulated and unlicenced product can cure cancer or assist in the treatment of it. The Cancer Act 1939 makes this an offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment for upto three months.
- Your MLM will probably state in their policies that you are not allowed to make these claims and they will not back you up if you break their rules.
Here is Forever Living’s policy on it
6. If you lied about a product being helpful to someone and they took it, believing it would help, and it didn’t, that is very very wrong. You would be giving false hope and could be causing serious damage. You may think you are not harming people and you really believe in the product but even benign sounding products can cause real harm-
In 1995 The Independent published a story about how bee products had seriously hurt some people and killed an 11 year old. This was due to allergies.
“The most serious case was that reported in Australia of an 11-year-old girl who died of what was diagnosed as an asthma attack. When she took a double dose of royal jelly she developed a wheeze and severe diarrhoea, started having bronchial spasms, and was taken to hospital.
She failed to respond to treatment “The death of the 11-year-old urgently re-emphasises the fact that royal jelly constitutes a major and life-threatening risk to patients with a known history of asthma or related allergies,” said Alain Rohan, a drug reaction specialist, in a letter to the Medical Journal of Australia. “Natural substances such as royal jelly, in which the protein content is very high, appear to pose the greatest antigenic threat of all such compounds.”
People with asthma and hay fever will often have allergies to pollen and bee products. But some companies are saying bee products can help with these conditions!
Part 2 coming soon, to include-
How do you know if your products have the correct licence to make health claims?
How can you sell products without breaking rules?
What to do if you see someone flouting these rules and you are concerned.