Court delivers historic ruling: a hangover is an illness

A German court made the decision in a case concerning a product marketed as an ‘anti-hangover drink'.

A German court has ruled that a hangover is an illness, in a verdict against the distributor of a food supplement marketed as an “anti-hangover drink”.

The state court in Frankfurt ruled in a verdict released on Monday that marketing by the defendant, which it did not identify, violated a ban on attributing to food products the ability to prevent, treat or heal illnesses.

It rejected an appeal against a lower court’s similar verdict.

Empty wine bottles (Philip Toscano/PA)

Judges found that an illness should be defined broadly in the interest of protecting people’s health, and said the term encompasses “any, even a slight or temporary, disruption of the body’s normal condition or normal activity”, according to a court statement.

That, they said, includes headaches and other symptoms that result from consuming alcohol, “a harmful substance”.

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