Many "miracle products" are sold online. Unfounded promises are made about the effects of these products. If an offer looks too good to be true, it rarely is true.
- Typical miracle products are diet pills, promised without justification to have remarkable properties and effects.
- E-mails, in particular, are used to market various drugs such as Viagra, Valium and pain medications.
If the seller provides misleading information to consumers about purported benefits of the product to their health and well-being, the marketing is illegal.
A marketer must be able to supply reliable evidence that the factual claims made about the product's properties and effects are true. For example, a claim about the weight loss benefits of a product must be backed up by unbiased and scientifically sound research results.
Differences between food and drug regulation
It is not always clear whether a miracle product should be considered a drug or a food. Dietary supplements, for example, often look like drugs, being in the form of pills, capsules or herbal extracts. In terms of their composition, however, they are food products rather than drugs.
The National Agency for Medicines decides whether a substance or product is to be considered a drug or a food. The classification is influenced both by the composition of the product and its intended use. A valid marketing authorisation is required in order to sell drugs.
No marketing authorisation is required to sell foods. Food products are regulated by municipal authorities, and the marketing of foods is supervised by the Finnish Food Authority.
- Consider whether it's a good idea to order products from a company that does not supply contact information other than a post office box address.
- Read the order terms carefully. An order coupon may mention that ordering a sample commits you to a standing order, but this could be in small print or otherwise unclearly stated.
- If you receive products you have not ordered, in theory there is no need for you to do anything. In practice, though, it's a good idea to return the products you received, since that will be interpreted as the cancellation of the transaction. The company has to refund the expenses for the return. Retain the return shipment receipt.
- If you receive a free sample with a notification of a standing order, inform the company in writing that you have not placed a standing order and are therefore not obligated to pay for the products supplied. Keep a copy of the letter.
You can contact the Finnish Food Authority about matters involving the marketing of food products.
Finnish Food Authority
Contact the Finnish Medicines Agency with questions about drug marketing.
Finnish Medicines Agency