ModernGhanalogo

FEATURED: Just In: Supreme Court Stops Justice Wuni From Hearing Ken Agyapong’s ...

body-container-line-1
09.01.2016 Feature Article

Merchants of ‘False’ Health Claims (Part 1)

Merchants of ‘False’ Health Claims (Part 1)
Listen to article

In this day and age when health has become an important individual asset, everyone is trying to sell us something to make us healthy. On the radio, television, trotro, and signposts along the streets, we are literally bombarded with a litany of claims for promoting health as well as those that also claim to cure diseases. If you an internet savvy, you get the additional slew of e-marketing through emails, web-posting, and various social media, all aiming for your wallet or purse and promising a cure or remedy of one kind or another.

As a lay person, don’t you ever wonder whether the claims made for these products are really true and therefore worth the Ghana Cedis you invest on them? Do the claims for weight lost really make you lose weight? Or do they make you think you have lost weight? Or do they make you become temporarily careful about what you eat and then you gradually slip back to who you are, and gain back all the weight you were stimulated to lose? Weight loss is just one example. How about claims of reducing cholesterol, treating hemorrhoids (kookoo), facial acne, and the popular one-increasing your libido? The list is endless.

The reality is that there are fake products that wrongfully claim proven benefits. Many of us are aware of that and sometimes we are able to detect that by the fake packaging and marketing. What is more difficult to tell is when fake and false claims are made about products and services whose vendors play with our intelligence, economize the truth and willfully steal from us in return for us getting NO benefit, as claimed.

This fake products market is a huge multi-billion cedi industry that would like you to feel dependent on their claims. When you get hooked on their products or services, they will be smiling every time they watch their account. But, what about you? Will you have got your money’s worth? Will you have got the remedy for your health? Your guess may be as good as mine. And in some cases your experience may be sad to recount.

Before I go into the details of the claims, I would like to first indicate that in a society, it is expected that those who are experts in a specific area will look out for the rest, under the leadership of the government. Therefore I expect that the Government of Ghana, through its various agencies (health promotion department, Food and Drugs authority, research institutions, etc) will educate the public on how to identify false claims on commercial products. Beyond that, the government must utilise its public health powers under the public health law, to regulate the market place and rid it of charlatans to the extent it can manage. Beyond that, civil society organizations such as consumer protection, professional associations, and commercial associations can, and should complement government efforts in policing the market place for our collective safety.

These charlatan businesses market a whole range of products. In the next part of this article. I will take a few of such claims and provide some evidence that I hope will help people make an informed decision. My intention in this piece is to empower individuals to make an informed choice when they earn their Cedis.

Now back to the quails. According to the leaflet, quail eggs ‘FIGHTS’ a list of non-communicable and infectious diseases. Immediately, my antenna’s went up because once you have a product that has a long list of benefits (which is highly unusual), usually the claims are –you are right- TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. From this leaflet, I could count at least nineteen diseases or symptoms, including ulcers, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, gout, and tuberculosis. Now would it not be very interesting if these were actually true? But lets hold on about the validity of the claims which I will return to shortly. The company also claims quail eggs contains good cholesterol? The challenge with this claim is not difficult to notice.

These charlatan businesses market a whole range of products. In the next part of this article. I will take a few of such claims and provide some evidence that I hope will help people make an informed decision. My intention in this piece is to empower individuals to make an informed choice when they earn their Cedis.

Richmond Aryeetey
Richmond Aryeetey, © 2016

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: RichmondAryeetey

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Powered By Modern Ghana
body-container-line