The Netherlands

It is forbidden to make medical claims for healthcare products that are not registered as medicines such as food supplements. Only claims that are approved by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), including ‘on hold’ claims for botanicals, can be used.

The prohibition of medical claims for health products also applies if medical claims are made on the website of a foundation for specific ingredients or a specific combination thereof. The Dutch Advertising Code Committee (Reclame Code Commissie, RCC) believes that descriptions of the combinations that exactly match certain products and claims that contain direct and indirect references to those products fall under inadmissible advertising. As a consequence, the RCC judges that such discussions of the individual ingredients are not neutral and not purely informative.

Therefore, the RCC has decided that also the sponsor of a website can be held responsible for the claims on the website. The RCC judges that the (content of) claims by third parties on a website, such as testimonials from physicians and reactions of consumers, fall under the responsibility of both the foundation and the sponsor.

This independent judgment of the RCC provides more clarity about the way in which advertising rules must be interpreted and applied, which is in the interest of public health and combats unfair competition.

More information can be found here.

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