Biopharmaceutical company Starpharma has been fined $93,240 for a ‘Viraleze’ nasal spray ad that claims to combat Covid-19.
Melbourne based Biopharmaceutical company Starpharma has been fined $93,420 for false advertisement.
Their advertisement for Viraleze nasal spray via their website and Youtube channel made a rather bold claim that the spray can stop SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration issued seven infringement notices.
The TGA stated of their decision: “The alleged advertising, on two of Starpharma’s websites, included a restricted representation claiming that Viraleze is an antiviral spray that stops SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”
“Any claims or references to preventing or treating a serious form of a disease, condition, ailment or defect are restricted representations,” the TGA’s media release continued.
Despite the company being based in Melbourne, the nasal spray has not been approved for use in Australia but is for sale across Europe and India.
The company’s ads also caught the TGA’s attention because of references to astodrimer sodium, an active ingredient classified as a pharmacist-only medicine.
Apparently, referring to this ingredient in relation to COVID-19: “is not permitted in advertising to consumers and was not authorised or required by a government or government authority.”
We have issued seven infringement notices totalling $93,240 to biopharmaceutical company Starpharma Holdings Limited, for alleged illegal advertising of a nasal spray that is not approved for use in Australia. Find out more: https://t.co/C4RoXKoymS pic.twitter.com/DowyNSmrGp
— TGA Australia (@TGAgovau) July 2, 2021
In a statement to the ASX, Starpharma said that upon receiving the infringement notices, they blocked Australians from being able to view the advertisements of concern.
While they do not agree with the infringement, they have temporarily paused sales in Britain.
Starpharma is an ASX-listed pharmaceuticals developer selling a range of sexual health products including literal antiviral condoms – the fuck.
Mid-2020 the company took a major shift into researching coronavirus and developed Viraleze.
While the spray itself has not been scientifically proven to stop COVID-19 it is considered a preventative measure against the virus to be used as an additional layer of protection on top of mask-wearing, social distancing and vaccines.
— Viraleze.co (@Viralezeco) July 5, 2021