A supplement supplier has been told by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to make changes to its website.
In a ruling published on 18 May, the ASA said that Freestep’s online advert for a calming spray product called InstaMag “must not appear again in its current form“.
The ruling followed complaints from a member of the public and Runenco, the parent company of established equine horse supplement manufacturer Nettex.
The ASA told Freestep to remove the text that said the spray calmer was “over four times faster acting than any other magnesium calmer on the market, closest comparison – 90mins” unless it had evidence to substantiate the claims, which it said were based on those made by competitors for similar products.
The claim that “transdermal application is the fastest way to deliver magnesium into the tissues/blood and onto the brain” was concluded the ASA “likely to be misleading.”
Freestep’s co-founder Andrea Gentles said the company had been approached by Rumenco before the complaint was lodged to explain the theory behind its claim, but “as InstaMag is the only spray on calmer on the market we decided not to share that information with one of our competitors.”
Rumenco also challenged whether the page on Freestep’s website for a supplement called Lamalert, aimed to support equines with Cushing’s disease and “suitable to be fed to horses and ponies prone to laminitis” made medicinal claims for an unauthorised product.
The ASA upheld the complaint saying the claims had breached the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code requiring medicines to have a marketing authorisation from the relevant regulatory body.
Freestep provided a veterinary report “showing the comparison to veterinary drugs prescribed for laminitis, equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) and equine Cushing’s disease, such as Prascend”.
They company told the ASA its evidence had been welcomed by vets looking for alternatives for horses who competed, and that “prominent” insurers had been “paying out on their products based on the results they had experienced with Lamalert“
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Mrs Gentles said: “We completely respect the ASA’s ruling. The changes were made immediately to our website last October when the complaint was brought to our attention. I would like to thank the thousands of customers that have supported us through this.“
Mrs Gentles, who set up the company four years ago with her sister Eve Meer, added: “We are a small company trying to get going and have got to learn from this experience.”