Popular activewear brand Lorna Jane has been fined almost $40,000 for claiming its newest range protects against viruses.
The Queensland company launched a new marketing campaign for the “LJ Shield” activewear, which claimed the clothing had been treated with a special spray technology that blocked out bacteria and viruses.
“Lorna Jane allegedly claimed on its website that its ‘anti-virus activewear’ prevents and protects against infectious diseases, implying it is effective against COVID-19,” The Therapeutic Goods Administration said in a statement.
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“This kind of advertising could have detrimental consequences for the Australian community, creating a false sense of security and leading people to be less vigilant about hygiene and social distancing.”
As a result, the company was yesterday slapped with three infringement notices totalling $39,960 in fines for alleged unlawful advertising in relation to COVID-19.
The TGA alleged that Lorna Jane represented its ‘anti-virus activewear’ for therapeutic use and therefore believed it was a therapeutic good within the meaning of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.
“The advertisement referred to therapeutic goods that were not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. This is required before they can be lawfully supplied or advertised in Australia,” the TGA said.
“Under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, any references to COVID-19 in the promotion of these types of goods are restricted representations.
“It is also a breach of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (No. 2) 2018 to promote a therapeutic good as being safe, harmless or without side-effects.”
The TGA said the advertisements are of “significant concern given the current pandemic”.
The company has since released a statement on its website, saying they “didn’t want to mislead anyone”.
“Our testing shows that LJ Shield is an important part of the stopping the spread of bacteria and should be used in combination with other precautionary measures such as face masks and thorough and frequent hand washing,” a post on the Lorna Jane website reads.
“We are not saying that LJ Shield will stop you coming into contact with bacteria we are saying LJSHIELD is an added protection like hand sanitizer but for the clothes you wear.”