I have just noticed that Nuropharm Ltd (trading as http://www.nuratrim.com the parent company of Nuratrim), has been added to the Advertising Standards Authority's list of 'non-compliant online advertisers'.
"[The compliance team] has contacted Nuropharm Ltd several times about removing claims that Nutratrim is scientifically proven to assist weight loss, burn fat, reduce cholesterol, increase metabolism and reduce appetite." More details here.
Although this particular post gets most of its hits from people Googling for Nuratrim (along with other relevant keywords) this blog post has actually only received around 2,500 hits in total which is a bit pathetic really. I doubt Nuropharm's citation on the ASA's website will stop people sending money to buy a product for which there doesn't appear to be any good evidence though. As always, they win ;)
For independent reviews of the product I recommend having a look at its page on Amazon.
Occasionally I take a look at the MoreNiche affiliate forum (see 'further reading' below) to see what new pills, potions or salves their members are flogging. Affiliates do this by setting up websites to promote a product and then linking these sites to a separate site that sells it. Each affiliate adds a piece of code to their promotional pages and if their site routes more customers to the selling site and secures a sale, then they receive a payment. Naturally people are trying ways of making their site more prominent so that people will find theirs and be routed through to the payment site.
No evidence at all offered for glucomannan, just information about what it is. Licorice extract is backed up with an 8 week study in 84 people - I'm not saying it's a bad study, more "steady on there, let's not sell products based on small short studies". There's actually a full reference given for the green coffee one (which looks interesting) so that might be worth looking at and finally I think there's enough information in the paragraphs on capsicum / capsiplex to find the study to which they refer, but again it seems like it might be a small study.
Here's how the story has unfolded... this is a kind of bloggytracker (idea pinched from The Guardian's Storytracker)
26 December 2011: because of the publication (well, less 'publication', more 'blurting') of a press release about this product in a newspaper today I wrote a brief follow-up post appealing to anyone writing about diet pills and patches to check the name of the product against the MoreNiche affiliate site. I think it's a safe bet that if it features there then the evidence might still be *cough* being gathered...
28 December 2011: yesterday (27 December 2011) I saw that the Daily Mail had written about the story and also checked the whois information for nuratrim.com and didn't find much (because I think they've made it private, which is fair enough) but did spot that Newstel Media Ltd had a mention there and from that company's own website it's conceivable that they are behind the PR and / or providing the telephone answering service for people to ring in to buy the product.
According to the cached version of the 'terms and conditions' the page used to say "We accept Credit Card, Debit Card payments via our secure on-line payment processing system, provided by Sage Pay and supported by Newstel Media Ltd." and now says "We accept Credit Card, Debit Card payments via our secure on-line payment processing system, provided by Sage Pay and supported by Advanced Health Ltd.". Advanced Health Ltd also have an Amazon store where they offer quite a range of products including Meratol, Capsiplex and things to grow eyelashes (!)
I added this story to the PRlapses blog (News that isn't).
Today (28 Dec) I spotted that the MoreNiche forum posse have clocked my blog posts (and page three) about their activity and have now made some posts on the forum private, including the ones I mentioned here. I've linked to the cached version of the forum post and of course I have a permanent copy (the cache will eventually disappear). A couple of the affiliates are also selling on their Nuratrim sites.
29 December 2011
I re-read the Daily Mail article (Google suggests it was updated within the last 23 hours) and saw this line that I'd missed before, or it had been added. Quite cheering really "However, requests for the clinical evidence from the company has yet to be returned." The Daily Mail doesn't seem to be that amenable to checking the cached pages so it may have been there all along and I just missed it, or they've added it in. I also hadn't seen the name of the company - Nuropharm Ltd which is behind the product, that info is available at Nuratrim's site but I hadn't noticed it.
30 December 2011
I caught wind of a new product - Capsiplex Plus - which is going to be advertised in the Daily Express (or probably the Sunday Express) on New Year's Day. Yet again evidence is offered for the individual ingredients yet the tiny pilot studies of the combined / complete product are mentioned but I failed to spot any publication details for these.
31 December 2011
There's a member on the MoreNiche forum who seems to be of a skeptical mindset (no it's not me in disguise, honest!) and who has published several posts expressing concern about some of the marketing for Nuratrim (in particular the claims that it had been previously launched in the US). Today I spotted that he or she was concerned about fake nutritionists and doctors being used to lend credibility on websites, but according to the others commenting on his / her post they're real. No reason why they shouldn't be of course.
|Results of a Google search for the text in bold|
7 December 2012
After indirectly getting in touch with The Telegraph to ask them to sort out their unwitting advert for Nuratrim they've now removed it (although at the time of writing the URL still indicates what might have been there http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wirecopy/8977974/Weight-loss-pill-which-burns-calories-of-40-minute-jog-goes-on-sale.html). This isn't much of a victory in retrospect as the mere fact that it was published at all is what allows MoreNiche affiliates to write stuff like "The Telegraph is a reputable and popular media source and now it has published a full-fledged article on Nuratrim."
This was not a 'full-fledged' article by any stretch, it was 'wire copy' which is a press release sent by the company or its PR agency, ie written by someone who wants to sell a product in the hope that a newspaper will write about it. The MoreNiche affiliate's website implies a degree of journalistic appraisal rather than straightforward churnalism - hopefully all this sort of nonsense will be magically sorted out by the Leveson inquiry, one can hope ;)
You can easily tell if an "independent review site" really is by clicking on the 'buy' link which will undoubtedly be there. You'll have to keep your wits about you and also have View / Taskbar enabled but, if you don't blink, once you've clicked 'buy' and the company's page loads you should see the tell-tale sign of track.moreniche.com appearing in the taskbar, see pic below.
|The taskbar usually appears in the left hand side of the window... sometimes on the right hand side ;)|
16 January 2012
From the King's Fund weekly email alert on health policy...
The responsibility for legislation on food supplements in England transferred from the Food Standards Agency to the Department Health on 1 October 2010. Guidance and summary documents have been updated to reflect this change and update references.
On further investigation it appears that Nuropharm formulate the pills and print labels for them "Nuropharm can handle basic design and vitamin label printing as well as more complicated requests" and may well distribute them as well. A commenter below has highlighted that Amazon has stopped selling Nuratrim - presumably that makes it a bit easier for the affiliates to do so instead.
3 June 2012
http://www.prlog.org/11854449-ex-hollyoaks-actress-has-revealed-that-she-uses-nuratrim-to-stay-in-shape.html - my favourite line is "The product has been mentioned in so many popular publications like The Daily Mail and The Telegraph" although it was actually removed, fairly promptly, from the Telegraph after another blogger (no, not me) got in touch with them about it.
22 August 2012
I have just noticed that Nuropharm Ltd (trading as http://www.nuratrim.com the parent company of Nuratrim), has been added to the Advertising Standards Authority's list of 'non-compliant online advertisers'. More details here.
Despite the 'advertorial' in The Telegraph for this product* was online for less than a week it seems to have done its work. I've had a look in the Amazon reviews (vastly negative) for the product and spotted a few references to the product being advertised in both the Tele and the Daily Mail. I've also found several copies of the Telegraph article (made available by MoreNiche as a banner) in use on a number of affiliates pages, for example this one.
* it was nothing more than a copy/pasted press release and the 'author' of the story was given as 'wire copy' which I believe means it wasn't written by anyone on the paper