Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo has warned that government will not allow business entities in Zambia to produce misleading adverts that their products can fight the deadly virus.
Mr. Lusambo who on Friday, took an impromptu visit to Nutricom Food and Beverage Limited, a company that produces Divine Power, Ginger Kombucha, an energy drink that is alleged to fight the coronavirus and boost immune system, said such claims have the potential to derail government efforts to combat COVID-19.
Mr. Lusambo, who was accompanied by Lusaka Province deputy Permanent Secretary Frazer Musonda, observed that the company was using a persuasive advert which he said could make people believe that there is a cure for COVID-19 when in fact not.
“You are taking advantage of people’s ignorance in order to make more money when, government officials are having sleepless nights on how to contain the coronavirus yet you claim that you can fight it,” he said.
He wondered what the motive of the advert was and has since cautioned Nutricom Food and Beverage Limited Managing Director, Yugandhar Reddy, to withdraw posters that have been placed in various parts of the city to advertise the product.
The Lusaka Province Minister noted that people in communities might end up disregarding the Ministry of Health guidelines for combating the spread of the disease and follow the misleading adverts.
He said such a move might put the country at a greater risk of the COVID-19.
Mr. Lusambo further said it was disturbing that while government was telling people to stay at home, regularly wash their hands, improve hygiene and maintain a social distance of at least one metre to combat the spread of the COVID-19, the Nutricom Food and Beverage Limited was claiming to have a cure.
“You want our people to be careless due to your claims that the beverage can be used to fight coronavirus,” he asked.
And Mr. Musonda said government was information that Nutricom Food and Beverage Limited had recorded an increase in sales due to the misleading adverts.
Mr. Musonda noted that it was wrong to use misleading statements to advertise a product.
Meanwhile, Nutricom Food and Beverage Limited Managing Director Yugandhar Reddy had a tough time to substantiate the claims in the adverts.
Mr. Reddy said Divine Kombucha had medicinal purposes which he said could boost immunity but it cannot cure COVID-19.
According to posters, Nutricom Food and Beverages is encouraging consumers to take divine power ginger Kombucha which can fight coronavirus, boost the immune system and it is certified by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS).