"We have previously been informed by the MHRA [the UK's Medicine & Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, it's a bit like the FDA] that all products containing citrus aurantium, white willow bark, chromium picolinate, cyanotis vaga, tribulus terrestris and variations of androstenediol are medicinal. Marketers should contact the MHRA if their products contain any of those ingredients before selling the product or preparing marketing campaigns for it. "Here's what CAP says in its Slimming guidelines for the press:
"8. Claims that products can, for example, boost metabolism, inhibit dietary fat absorption, melt fat, soak up fat, break down fat, suppress appetite, block fat etc,are almost always unproven and are likely to break the Code and may also be medicinal claims. Furtheradvice can be sought from the MHRA (www.mhra.gov.uk).
CAP has seen no evidence thatproducts containing the following can assist in weight loss; Aminopyline, Citrus Aurantia, Chitosan, Chromium Picolinate, CLA, Garcinia Cambogia, Guarana Extract, L-Carnitine, Lecithin, Ribose."I don't know if these guidelines relate only to sports supplements and discussions in the press and mean that marketers are free to make these claims about different products and not in the press - I doubt it though.
Assuming that these guidelines do affect all marketers... it would seem, then, that the CAP guidelines are recommending that anyone selling a product containing chromium picolinate needs to check with the MHRA before marketing it (in the UK), while also mentioning that there doesn't seem to be any good evidence that chromium picolinate helps in weight loss.
The guidelines also highlight that claiming that implying that your product can boost metabolism or suppress appetite etc is 'likely to break the Code' and that such statements 'may also be medicinal claims' - ie, it's probably necessary to check with the MHRA.
So it seems that if your product contains chromium picolinate and / or makes claims about boosting metabolism etc then you might need MHRA approval before marketing that product.
Adiphene is a new (to me) weight loss product, from RDK Holdings (the same people who make Phen375 weight loss pills) and it contains chromium picolinate and makes precisely the claims on its website that the MHRA and CAP are a bit uncomfortable about. I have been trying to find out if permission from the MHRA is needed (in the first place) or if it has already been granted for Adiphene to be marketed in the UK (it's entirely possible that it has been given).
A website promoting another slimming pill, Proactol, has a page with the question "Is proactol plus approved by the MHRA?" however it doesn't appear that they've actually answered that question anywhere on the page... http://proactolplus-pills.co.uk/is-proactol-plus-approved-by-mhra
I didn't find any mention on the MHRA's pages for Proactol or Adiphene though I did find mentions for the Over The Counter weight loss pills 'Alli' (orlistat) and the prescription version Xenical. The MHRA also has an interesting list of herbal slimming products to avoid that have been found to contain the prescription-only medicine sibutramine (reductil).
Adiphene's parent website is probably based in the USA so I expect what it says on its own pages is its own business, although I'm not sure where the line needs to be drawn when the product is being shipped around the world (the site lets you tweak it to give you the prices in UK pounds). Also, the site is being promoted by MoreNiche affiliate marketers some of whom will (presumably) be promoting the product's sale to people in Britain.
(1) Adiphene official website: http://adiphene.com/en/ingredients.html
(2) Examples of affiliate marketers' UK (apparently) sites promoting Adiphene
- http://www.dietpillsbuy.co.uk/buy-adiphene-diet-pills/ - mentions boosting metabolism
- http://www.dietslimmingpills.org.uk/adiphene-review - mentions chromium picolinate, appetite suppression
- http://www.fat-burners-uk.co.uk/adiphene-natural-adipex-alternative/ - mentions chromium picolinate, inhibition of fat absorption
Nuratrim on the naughty step for failing to provide evidence for their weight loss supplements (23 August 2012) - the ASA added Nuropharm Ltd to their list of non-compliant online advertisers.