Cat Media has been fined $13,320 for alleged unlawful advertising of a FatBlaster product
The TGA has issued an infringement notice for $13,320 to Sydney-based company Cat Media for the alleged unlawful advertising of a complementary medicine.
Cat Media allegedly advertised a therapeutic good called FatBlaster Apple Cider Vinegar and Garcinia Max on the company’s ‘FatBlaster’ website.
It is alleged that the product was not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), and was neither exempt nor excluded from the operation of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act).
“Unless a specific exemption, approval or authority applies, therapeutic goods must be entered in the ARTG before they can be lawfully advertised to the general public in Australia,” said the TGA.
The announcement comes just over one month after the TGA issued a different infringement notice totalling $13,320 to Cat Media for allegedly continuing to advertise its FatBlaster Original product (promoted as a ‘diet supplement’) on its website after the company had cancelled it from the ARTG on 29 June 2020.
Public health physician Associate Professor Ken Harvey has recently argued that there has been no effective action taken against weight loss products, which he believes are supported by limited or non-existent evidence.
Two FatBlaster Clinical products have been cancelled, with Adjunct Professor John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary of Health Products Regulation at the Department of Health explaining this was due to “insufficient evidence, misleading presentation and inaccurate advertising claims”.
Adj Prof Skerritt said a range of pharmacy chains had been given cease-and-desist notices to stop them advertising those products.
The rest of the FatBlaster range as well as other similar weight loss products continue to be sold.
“The overweight and the obese are a vulnerable population and such people are inevitably attracted to a pill promising a ‘quick fix’,” said A/Prof Harvey.
“It’s particularly reprehensible that misleading and deceptive claims for these products continue to be made, as they’re likely to divert consumers from more evidence-based weight loss programs in addition to wasting their money.”
Cat Media owns and operates the brand Naturopathica, which is behind other pharmacy product lines including Horny Goat Weed.