17 May 2021, Budapest – The investigation of the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) established that the advertisements of the so-called proinsulin C-peptide cosmetics belonging to the Vargapeptide product range contained false claims about the medical properties of the products, including their effectiveness against COVID-19. The GVH has permanently banned the advertising of the products in question and imposed the highest possible fine, HUF 117,8 million, on the distributor.
The GVH initiated a proceeding against Max-Immun Kft. last year due to the promotion of the cosmetics distributed by the undertaking, which contain the so-called proinsulin C-peptide, since the commercial communications suggested that these products are suitable for the treatment of several dysfunctions and disorders, including a variety of cancers, autism, diabetes, and COVID-19. During the investigation, the GVH found that immediate action was necessary, imposing a temporary ban on the advertisement of these products by the undertaking last summer in order to prevent consumer harm.
The recently concluded proceeding, in which the GVH did not investigate the product itself or its ingredients, but the claims made in relation to them, revealed that the advertisements contained unsubstantiated health claims, misleading consumers, and simultaneously infringing the regulation applicable to cosmetics within the territory of the European Community. As a result, the decision of the GVH permanently prohibited the unlawful advertisement of the cosmetic skincare spray products containing proinsulin C-peptide / peptide under any brand name and imposed the highest possible competition supervision fine, HUF 117,8 million, permitted by the applicable legislation on the undertaking. Among others, the decision of the Authority took into account the fact that the affected group of consumers qualifies as vulnerable; therefore, these consumers are particularly susceptible to promises about health improvements. The amount of the fine was also increased by the fact that the undertaking continued the infringement in spite of a public warning by the OGYÉI, the pharmaceutical authority prohibiting the operation of the website of the product range, and the interim measure of the GVH. The Authority considered it another aggravating factor that this was the third identical infringement found to have been committed by Max-Immun Kft. in the past 10 years.
The GVH also ordered the already published commercial communication, which infringe the law, to be removed. In the event that the undertaking fails to comply with this order, the GVH’s Competition Council proceeding in the case ordered that the undertakings displaying these advertisements (Facebook, Vimeo, Mediaworks, YouTube) would delete the unlawful content.
The official registration number of the case is: VJ/22/2020.
GVH Press Office