Hangovers are an illness, German court rules

Judges decide hangover cure products making unlawful health claims

Tim Wyatt
Tuesday 24 September 2019 13:36 BST
Hangovers disrupt the body’s normal healthy activity and are therefore illnesses in the eyes of the law
Hangovers disrupt the body’s normal healthy activity and are therefore illnesses in the eyes of the law (iStock)

A German court has ruled hangovers are an illness, in a judgment against the makers of hangover cure products.

An unnamed company which sells anti-hangover shots and powders was taken to court in Frankfurt and accused of making unlawful claims about its products.

In Germany, the law prohibits food or drink being marketed as able to prevent or treat any health problem.

And any hopes the firm had to escape censure by claiming only to cure hangovers were dashed when the judges decided the after-effects of too much drinking was in fact also a form of illness.

“Information about a food product cannot ascribe any properties for preventing, treating or healing a human illness or give the impression of such a property,” the ruling said.

“By an illness, one should understand even small or temporary disruptions to the normal state or normal activity of the body.”

Those suffering from hangovers often experienced tiredness, nausea and headaches as a result of consuming alcohol, which is a “harmful substance”.

Therefore, hangovers amounted to a form of disruption to the body and are an illness under the law, the court concluded.

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The ruling comes shortly after the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival began in Munich. Last year the millions of visitors to the festivities consumed about seven million litres of beer.

But in recent times Germany’s love affair with hops seems to have been on the wane: beer consumption per year has fallen by a third since 1970, whereas sales of alcohol-free beers are rising.

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