Channel Nine’s A Current Affair TV show has come under fire for an “ADHD breakthrough” story which has been described as a thinly disguised advertisement for an anti-inflammatory supplement, Lyprinol.
The program has attracted the attention of the ABC’s Media Watch, which is looking into whether the program breached the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code in its portrayal of new research on the effects of the supplement, which is marketed by vitamin company Blackmores.
“In short, it looks like an ad, it smells like an ad, it is an ad (and a very bad one), and in my opinion, it’s in breach of numerous therapeutic advertising ethical guidelines,” public health physician Associate Professor Ken Harvey said.
Lyprinol, made from green-lipped mussel oil, allegedly improved bad behaviour at home by 34%, attention by 13% and hyperactivity by 10%, according to the program.
But those benefits were “in stark contrast to the null results of the major study” into the supplement, Professor Harvey said.
The “positive” results were not reported in the paper and could only be derived from data-dredging a sub-set of participants by post-hoc analysis, he added.
The program’s uniformly positive testimonials were accompanied by multiple shots of the Blackmores packaging, with a stamp saying “under $20 per week”.
Professor Con Stough, the lead researcher on the Swinburne University study which featured on the program, has clarified his comments made on the show, saying only two lines from a 30-minute interview were used.
Professor Stough said he never claimed the supplement was a “breakthrough”, and stressed any positive effects were mostly seen in sub-ADHD symptom participants.