Verdict: Manufacturers of mouthwashes are no longer allowed to advertise with reference to corona

The manufacturer of a mouthwash is no longer allowed to advertise its product with reference to Corona. That was decided by the regional court in Bielefeld. The process involved sentences such as “The risk of droplet transmission of the corona virus is reduced” or the word “corona prophylaxis”. Consumer advocates had seen this as a violation of the Medicines Advertising Act. According to this, advertising for medical devices outside of professional circles may not refer to the prevention or alleviation of certain diseases. According to the district court, the judgment is not yet final.

The consumer center did not question the effect of the product, said a spokesman for the Bielefeld cosmetics and drug manufacturer Dr. Wolff in the medical journal. It has not yet been decided whether the company will appeal the verdict. According to the spokesman, further steps will be considered as soon as the verdict is in writing. The North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center had already warned the company at the end of April 2021. After it did not sign the cease-and-desist declaration, the consumer advocates complained.

“Corona infection in the private sphere may be reduced by gargling”

In a comparable case, the manufacturer of the Plasma Liquid mouthwash was warned and threatened with a fine of 50,000 euros. With said mouthwash, all “relevant germs such as viruses, bacteria and fungi could be reduced”, and “patients suffering from corona could recover faster and the symptoms be reduced,” says a spokesman for the company. After the warning, he explained: “Since the products are class two A medical devices and not medicines, the study may not be used for advertising”. This is extremely regrettable, especially in view of the current situation with the constantly increasing number of infections. The prognosis for summer, especially for autumn and winter, is very bleak, but effective means to ease the situation and help people are being deprived.”

The spokesman continued: “If the product were allowed to be advertised in this way, it would almost certainly be the case that many people could protect themselves from the infection or the infection in the infected patients could be rehabilitated more quickly.”

At the end of 2020, the then Health Minister Jens Spahn announced that he assumed that the risk of corona infection in the private sphere could possibly be reduced by gargling. At that time, Spahn told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung: “It has not yet been scientifically proven. But the idea is that gargling with mouthwashes made from essential oils dissolved in alcohol, or even table salt, is thought to lower viral loads in the mouth and throat.”

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