November 9, 2011

Brush-off for cure-all toothpaste


Senior officials at the Ministry of Information this week demanded the halt of a toothpaste advertising campaign that promised not only whiter teeth, but to cure skin and liver diseases, as well as cancer.
The product, however, was never registered with the Ministry of Health.

Advertising for Heng Bora Company’s HBR toothpaste claimed that it relieved high blood pressure, nose infect-ions, liver disease and even physical disabilities.

The product could also be rubbed on the skin as a balm, according to the advertising.

In the ban on product advertising, the  Ministry of Information said the company had failed to register the product correctly.  Heng Bora’s pitch was unsubstantiated, confusing to the public and could cause potential danger to users if the product proved to be unsafe, the ministry said.

The Ministry of Health had appealed to the Ministry of Information to halt the advertising, according to an official letter from health officials dated October 13.

Heng Bora’s toothpaste advertisement played on the Kingdom’s radio stations, and motorists could find the company’s signboards along thoroughfares in Phnom Penh.

Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said proper registration with the health ministry could save HBR toothpaste from being banned.

“We cannot stop the company’s advertisement completely if the company’s owner follows technical standards and registers properly at the Ministry of Health,” he said.

Prak Piseth Rainsey, health care director at the Ministry of Health, said the biggest risk of using unregistered products was the potential for a high mercury content, which could cause some of the ailments the toothpaste claimed to cure.

Officials at the Heng Bora Company’s offices in Phnom Penh denied a Post reporter’s requests for comment.

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