Hangover recognized as a disease after drinking alcohol

That is why the hangover is now classified as an illness

A roaring headache, nausea, dizziness: after a wet, happy night it can happen that you wake up with a bad hangover. Some try to fight the symptoms with plenty of mineral water, fruit juice spritzers or an acid-salty "hangover breakfast". But there are also people who then rely on dietary supplements who advertise to help against or with a hangover. However, such advertising statements are prohibited according to a current court decision.

According to a current court ruling, a dietary supplement should not be advertised with the advertising message to prevent alcohol hangover or to reduce its consequences. According to the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main (OLG), such advertising statements violate the ban on assigning disease-related properties to foods. The court found that a hangover is an illness.

Food supplements with statements such as "Anti Hangover Shot"

As the OLG Frankfurt am Main explains in a communication, the defendant sells and advertises two food supplements, the consumption of which is intended to prevent the development of a hangover after alcohol consumption or to alleviate the effects of the hangover. According to the information, the products are available in the form of a powdered stick (“drink”) and a drinkable mixture (“shot”).

The defendant advertises the products extensively, among other things with the statements: "Anti Hangover Drink" or "Anti Hangover Shot", "Naturally in hangover", "With our Anti Hangover Drink you lead your body natural, antioxidative plant extracts , Electrolytes and vitamins too ".

According to the OLG, the plaintiff is an association whose tasks include safeguarding the commercial interests of its members, in particular respecting the rule of unfair competition. The association opposes the defendant's numerous advertising statements. The district court essentially upheld the lawsuit and the appeal against it has also been unsuccessful before the OLG.

No properties of prevention, treatment or healing

The OLG emphasizes, referring to the requirements of the Food Information Ordinance (LMIV): "Information about a food must not attribute properties of the prevention, treatment or healing of a human disease to it or give the impression of this property." A statement is disease-related if it is direct or indirectly give the impression that the advertised food contributes to the prevention, treatment or healing of an illness.

Here, the prohibited statements suggested to "addressed public, primarily young consumers who consume alcohol while partying, that the advertised product was suitable for treating the symptoms of an alcohol hangover or could prevent a hangover," the court said.

There is a medical term for the hangover

A "hangover" or "hangover" is also an illness. In the interest of the most effective health protection, the term should be interpreted broadly. "Sickness is to be understood as any, including a minor or temporary disruption of the normal condition or normal activity of the body", summarizes the OLG Frankfurt am Main and concretizes "even an insignificant or temporary disruption of the normal condition that heals, that it can be eliminated or reduced and that it is not just a normal fluctuation in performance counts as a concept of illness ”. For example, headaches are an illness, but not natural physiological conditions.
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The hangover is described here with symptoms such as tiredness, nausea and headache. Such symptoms are outside the natural range of fluctuation of the human body. "They do not occur as a result of the body's natural" ups and downs ", but as a result of the consumption of alcohol, a harmful substance," explains the court. The fact that the symptoms regularly disappear on their own and do not require medical treatment is not decisive. According to the information provided, the expert reports submitted by the defendant confirm the assessment that the hangover is an illness. This also speaks for the fact that there is a medical term for the hangover, namely "Veisalgia".

The defendant could also not rely on the fact that their advertising constituted an admissible health claim in the form of a claim approved in accordance with the annex to the Health Claim Regulation (HCVO), because the claim referred to had nothing to do with the hangover symptoms described here to do. The court's decision is not yet final. (ad)

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