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L'Oreal taken to court in Sweden for marketing claims

By Katie Bird , 18-Jun-2009
Last updated on 22-Jun-2009 at 12:15 GMT2009-06-22T12:15:21Z

L’Oreal is being taken to the Market Court in Sweden for claims about anti-ageing products that the Consumer Ombudsman (KO) says it can’t substantiate.

The KO, a government body that can defend the interests of the consumer against companies in court, claims that marketing for L’Oreal’s Lancome High Resolution and Vichy LiftActiv Pro are not backed up by scientific evidence.

According to KO, the Lancome adverts claim the product can smooth out wrinkles by up to 70 per cent.

In the case of Vichy, the KO said that L’Oreal claims the product is ‘the source of healthy skin’ and can reduce wrinkles by up to 43 per cent.

Such strong marketing claims, which border on those made for pharmaceutical products, should be backed up by strong evidence, according to the KO.

It maintained this evidence has not been provided and is taking the matter to the Market Court (Swedish court solely dealing with cases relating to marketing) to stop the campaign.

In addition, the KO said it is calling on the Market Court to clarify the kinds of evidence required for this type of marketing claim.

Support from consumer association

Consumers Stockholm (KFS), the largest consumer association in Sweden, has welcomed the move, saying it is time the cosmetics market was held accountable to existing rules and regulations.

In 2006 the KFS called for cosmetics marketing to adhere to a number of requirements which it believes are as relevant today as they were three years ago.

These include making sure all claims on a cosmetic’s effect are double blind tested against a placebo or a control and not relying on in vitro tests as a measure of product efficacy.

In addition, KSF calls for the use of test subjects that are relevant to the target group and those featured in the advertisement.

Furthermore, the consumer association has called on the Drug Administration and the Consumer Agency to allocate the necessary resources to review the advertising and marketing of cosmetics to make sure they are consistent with existing rules.

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