Specialty food group Nutricia wrongly told Dutch doctors that a new food supplement for Alzheimer patients had been included in a list of standard treatments for dementia, the NRC reported on Monday.
Nutricia produces a drink supplement called Souvenaid which contains ingredients said to be helpful in supporting memory functions. Although not a medicine, as a functional food the drink may be covered by some health insurance policies, the NRC said.
In a letter to doctors at Souvenaid’s launch, Nutricia referred to the official dementia treatment protocol. This, Nutricia said, mentioned scientific research which showed that special dietary products can have a ‘significant positive effect’ on the memory of patients in the early stages of the disease.
However, this appears to have been taken from an early draft of the protocol and was later scrapped. The official document now states the effect of medical foodstuffs is ‘still unclear’.
A spokesman for the food safety body NVWA said in referring to the dementia protocol, Nutricia could be making a ‘medical claim’ for Souvenaid. This is not allowed, the NVWA said.