A drink marketed as a hangover cure is enraging Australian road safety groups who fear it will encourage drunk driving.
The so-called "pick-me-up" Security Feel Better drink went on sale in Australia last week, with its website promising that users will feel the effects of its work breaking down alcohol in the blood system within 45 minutes.
The potion's Sydney marketing director, Michael Romm, said the French-made drink, based on artichoke extract, contained an enzyme that helped break down alcohol in the liver five times faster than the body on its own.
He said he had not had the drink scientifically tested, but believed it had the potential to lower blood-alcohol levels within the hour.
"If you drink and drive ... that's illegal," Romm said. "This is to prevent hangovers the next day."
Dr. John Crozier of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' National Trauma Committee, said he had serious doubts it would work. But he was more concerned consumers would interpret it as safe to take the product after drinking and get behind the wheel.
"I would be concerned ... about the mixed message, that it's going to be more likely to encourage more risky behavior in those who are more vulnerable," Crozier said.
He said alcohol was a factor in up to 30 percent of road deaths in Australia, and more than 45 percent in the Northern Territory, making the country the ninth worst out of all the OECD nations when it came to drunk driving.
"That's why at the college, they all have high concerns about any support for a product like this at all," Crozier said.