Internet sees growth of unverified health claims

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 17 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:381

There are a growing number of dubious health claims for products on the Internet which British authorities say they are powerless to control. These include advertisements for shark cartilage, which “inhibits tumour growth and cancer,” and melatonin, which is banned in the United Kingdom but freely available in the United States and is claimed to “strengthen the body's immune system.” These and many more are easily available by mail order to anyone with an Internet connection.

In the UK, terrestrial advertising for such products in the high street and other media is restricted by law. Products making “medicinal claims” must have a product licence supported by scientific evidence. Although there is controversy over what constitutes such a claim, companies …

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