Bra marketers make bogus claims of cancer prevention: officials

June 16, 2009
The illegal brassiere that the marketer claims prevents and treats breast cancer

The Vietnamese importer of a type of bra made in Taiwan has been exaggerating the manufacturer’s claims of the bra’s health-giving properties without government approval, according to a health ministry official.

The Hanoi-based multilevel marketing company Thien Ngoc Minh Uy Co. Ltd. has been advertising in shops that the bra prevents and treats breast cancer and enhances breast size.

The “nanotechnology bra” is advertised as a great invention of the 21st century that can also prevent breasts from sagging and maintain the pink color of the nipples.

Nguyen Minh Tuan, deputy head of the Department of Medical Equipment and Works under the Health Ministry, said health authorities had not approved any of the health claims made by the company and that products carrying such claims needed health authority approval to be sold legally.

Giang, a student at Hanoi Foreign Trade University, said she had bought two of the bras for a total of VND3.4 million (US$191) but has experienced none of the advertised effects besides developing a rash on her skin.

Attendants at a 99Shop99 chain-store on Duong Thanh Street in Hanoi espoused the bra’s qualities saying that it was made in Taiwan with some materials from France and Japan.

However the product’s packaging did not include anything that backed up what the shop attendants had claimed. The bra is packed in a simple plastic bag with directions and a note stating the Taiwanese origin. The packaging does not contain anything about the remedial effects advertised.

The shop attendants said the bras were imported and distributed by Thien Ngoc Minh Uy Co. multilevel marketing at Cau Dien Trading Center in Hanoi’s Tu Liem District, also known as TianYuMengWei Co. Ltd. Vietnam.

A company worker said, “The brassiere is reinforced from aerospace material, titanium, helping to enhance the shape of the breasts.”

She also said the nano bra contains “transparent particles” extracted from a plant which help massage the breasts to enhance size and prevent breast cancer.

Some shops displayed advertising claiming the bra was effective against “frigidity, menstrual cramps, and pimples” within six months of use.

Illegal and exaggerated

Pham Thi Huy, director of Thien Ngoc Minh Uy Co. Ltd., said the bra had been approved by an agency under the Health Ministry for disease prevention and beauty enhancing qualities. She could not show the approval but only documentation that the Institute for Labor Medicine and Environmental Hygiene had tested the bra.

Huy defended the medicinal qualities of the bra by saying “The product is helpful to humans because it is not harmful.”

Dr. Tran Van Thuan, deputy director of the K Hospital in Hanoi, said there has been no bra approved for preventing or treating breast cancer.

Trinh Van Ngoc, head of Hanoi Market Management Agency, said he was aware that some products being sold by multi-level marketing companies violated the law by carrying false claims or not having a certificate of origin.

He said he would inspect the trading of the nano bras.

Reported by Thai Son

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