AS SIX FOOD supplement products now face airtime suspension pending probes, and a famous actress’s product is under scrutiny for exaggeration, police yesterday searched the office of a company whose Bangkok market’s premises were last week subject to five raids related to suspected illegal cosmetics and food supplement products and whose ex-cop advisor allegedly tried to stop the police operation.
A product associated with actress Ranee “Bella” Campen, although having an FDA registration number, would face a probe over an alleged exaggerated advertisement, said Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deputy chief and pharmacist Somchai Preechathaveekit yesterday. Exaggerated advertising is punishable by up to three years in prison and/or up to a Bt30,000 in fine, while illegal advertising about a product’s quality and benefits for commercial gain is punishable by a fine up to Bt5,000.
Ranee however has insisted the product could withstand a probe, as she has operated the business legally and transparently. Consumers and distributors should remain confident, she said. Ranee’s business partner Wirakan Senitantikul said the reportedly exaggerated advertisement did not come from the firm but from a distributor. They had given the distributor a warning and had the ad adjusted, said Wirakan. She said they had again submitted the product for the FDA’s and the Medical Science Department’s testing to clear the accusation.
Meanwhile, five food supplement product brands are being investigated to ensure they had not exaggerated claims or broken any related laws. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s (NBTC) broadcasting commissioner Lt-General Peerapong Manakij said that the FDA and the NBTC had suspended airtime via four digital and satellite TV channels for the five brands while the probe is underway. The probed products are: Gotu Kola of Crystal Herbs; Z-Nature Corydyceb and Ganoderma Lucidum extracts; SOM CMax Instant Coffee Powder; Doublemaxx; and BioOne.
As for other ads potentially breaking the law on online TV, the NBTC will wait for the FDA official report on the initial probe before acting accordingly, Peerapong added.
In related news, police yesterday morning searched an office at Don Muang Pattana Co Ltd used by Pol Lt-Colonel Santhana Prayoonrat. Santhana, a former deputy superintendent at the Special Branch Police Division, is serving as an adviser to the company.
Tourist Police Bureau deputy head Maj-General Surachet Hakpan, who led the warranted raid yesterday, called a meeting of market committee members in the afternoon to discuss an allegation that market vendors had extorting protection money over the past two years and requested co-operation for the probe.
Police would today talk with representatives of the Treasury Department, the Revenue Department and the Anti-Money Laundering Office about the controversies involving the market, including 70 rental contracts and alleged money extortion, he said.