During the promotion of its Vargapeptide product, Max-Immun Kft. stated that the cosmetic skin care spray containing proinsulin C-peptide was also suitable for the treatment of several diseases, such as various cancers, diabetes and coronavirus. Consequently, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) initiated a competition supervision proceeding against the undertaking in May. The Authority, in order to prevent further consumer harm, has now banned the undertaking from advertising any of its cosmetic products containing C-peptide until the investigation has been concluded.
The GVH initiated a competition supervision procedure at the end of May in relation to the advertisements of cosmetic products containing C-peptide to which therapeutic claims were attributed, as the claims were presumably unfounded. The advertisements suggested that C-peptide was useful in the treatment of a number of diseases and disorders, including various cancers, autism, diabetes, and COVID-19. The ads promised, among other things, that the product was "excellent for the treatment of coronavirus with a severe outcome" and claimed that "the first foreign patient infected with coronavirus in a German-speaking area became asymptomatic within 30 hours of using proinsulin C-peptide."
Buyers searching for medicinal products represent a special, highly vulnerable group of consumers who, in the hope of recovery, react much more sensitively to advertisements that promise to heal. Given that the decisions of such consumers are predominately motivated by their desire to benefit from the healing effects attributed to the medicinal products, the consumers are often willing to spend beyond their financial means.
In light of the fact that the COVID-19 viral disease continues to spread worldwide and no vaccine is currently available against it, the GVH considered it urgent, as a provisional protective measure, to ban presumably misleading commercial practices.
According to the decision of the Authority, Max-Immun Rák- és Immunkutató Kft. shall remove all advertisements available for its products belonging to the Vargapeptide product family and for any of its other products that contain proinsulin C-peptide. In case the undertaking fails to comply with the provisional protective measure, the Competition Authority has ordered the publishers of the advertisements (Mediaworks, Facebook, Youtube, vimeo.com) and the hosting company operating the Max-Immun websites to remove the commercials.
The official registration number of the case is: VJ/22/2020.
Budapest, 28 July 2020
Hungarian Competition Authority
Phone: (+36-30) 180-2060