National

Deceitful advertisement of a Herbal Heart medicine takes Indian consumers for a ride

New Delhi: A number of Delhi Urdu newspapers published large advertisements on front and back pages yesterday (2 July, 2017). These advertisements have been jointly inserted by Hikma Herbal LLC, purportedly based in Chicago, USA, and the Indian Unani medicines company, Rex Remedies. It is about a certain Unani concoction marketed by various Unani companies in India under various brand names claiming to be a cure for heart diseases. Now a company claiming to be US-based is marketing the same as an American product under the brand name of “Proheart Fusion”. The advertisement is replete with fraudulent claims, e.g.,

1. The advertisement claims that the product is “approved food supplement” by the USFDA, which is not correct. The same advertisement says in very fine print that the company is registered as “Food Facility” with the FDA and gives the registration number as 177554516658. A search on the USFDA website does not show this medicine nor does it have any record of this company.

2. The Urdu advertisement claims that it is “original formula manufactured in the US”. The fact is that this formula is common knowledge and available in India for many years making similar health claims and using same ingredients.

3. The same product is marketed by the same company (http://www.proheartfusion.com/) on Amazon.com but there is no indication or claim on Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/PROHEART-Healthy-Supplement-Natural-Guarantee/dp/B01HRWKPRQ?th=1) that the product is approved by the USFDA. On the contrary, the product description on Amazon.com says: "These statements have not been evaluated by FDA" and the very next line says: "This product is intendent [? - see below] to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease". “Intendent” is a clear mistake and the same advertisement later makes it clear saying: “These statements have not been evaluated by FDA. This product is not intended to diignose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” The advertisement on Amazon is full of mistakes and typos which certainly is not the hall-mark of a self-respecting company.

4. The company claims in the Urdu advertisements that it is American but the company name having "LLC" gives it away that it is registered in UAE. The Urdu advertisements give only FDA food facility registration number as “food facility” and not a certificate of approval of the product.

5. The company website only says that "PROHEART FUSION" is a registered trade mark. Under the testimonials and elsewhere the same website makes no claim that the concoction has any approval from USFDA. A search on USFDA website for "Hikma Herbal LLC" did not show any result. Also the company’s FDA registration number as “food facility registration” (177554516658) did not show any result on the FDA website despite searches under various headings.

6. The pricing of the production too is fraudulent. The Urdu advertisement mentions the price of one 500 ml bottle of Proheart Fusion as Rs 2999 but offers it for "only Rs 2499". A bottle with same quantity (500 ml) bottle of the same concoction is available on Amazon.com for US$ 34.99 including shipping to India which comes to Indian Rupees 2274 according to the current rate of exchange, and this means a clear overcharging of Rs 225 per bottle. But the fact is that the same concoction may be bought off the shelf in India for around Rs 500.

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