Consumer group questions anti-aging advertising

| June 4, 2013 | 2 Comments

GROWING old is generally viewed in negative terms in our society.

This article looks at the commercial aspects of the anti-ageing industry and calls for more regulations.

And our individualistic and consumerist approach to health care leads us to believe it is within our power to alter the “biological clock” – if we are willing and able to pay.

But while lifespans may be increasing – largely due to improvements in living standards – there is no evidence medicine can alter the process of human biological aging.

Still, numerous so-called anti-aging treatments are currently advertised and available for purchase via the internet.

These cover a oad spectrum, including cosmetic treatments, hormone-replacement therapies, implants, prosthetic devices and stem-cell treatments.

In Australia, some common treatments include non-surgical facelifts, anti-wrinkle injections and “dermal fillers”, permanent hair removal and laser treatments.

Consumer organisation Choice has questioned some of the claims of those advertising anti-aging treatments.

In a review of such treatments Choice notes, for instance, that there is “no such thing as a non-surgical facelift”, and that such procedures “won’t last as long as a surgical facelift”.

Despite the advertising of questionable claims, the anti-aging industry is difficult to regulate.

One of the greatest challenges for regulating a market like this is that many treatments are advertised directly to consumers over the internet.

If not available in Australia, treatments can almost certainly be purchased overseas. Clever advertising techniques give the impression there is an effective treatment for almost any age-related “condition”.

Another challenge for regulators is that the term “anti-aging” is difficult to pin down.

Treatments that were long part of complementary and alternative medicine have been relabelled as “anti-aging”. These include using antioxidants, vitamins and homeopathic products.

Some treatments that have actually undergone clinical trials and are used for treating conditions such as sexual dysfunction and heart disease have been relabelled to join the anti-aging marketplace.

And there are newer, clinically unproven treatments such as stem-cell therapies that are mostly only available for purchase overseas.

Clearly, many groups have a stake in the “anti-aging industry”. Chief among these are the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies that stand to profit from the sale of new pills, potions, prosthetic devices and implants.

 

Category: Articles, Beauty & Fashion