Dubious health companies expand their network of stores nationwide in Hungary

Previously, we have described how the wellness business, which specialises mainly in pensioners, works and what players are behind the companies involved. This time, we looked at the current and former locations of companies offering health assessments and sellingwell-being, health promotion, wellnessproducts.  We found several shops across the country, mapped those still operating and those that have closed in recent years, and created an infographic of the intricate network of companies.

In the early afternoon of mid-April, we arrive at the CardioMed shop on Ó Street in Budapest, an elderly couple are on their way out, carrying a large bag. According to the box, they were buying a BNM oxygen concentrator. In 2021, the alternativeshop, which sells well-being and wellness devices and which we have already written about, listed on its website the diseases that oxygen deficiency can lead to when it wrote about the benefits of a similar device. The source of the information listed isInternet”.

A large sign at the entrance to the shop on Ó Street advertises that it sells medical devices and therapeutic aids. According to the company database, this is one of the current locations of a company advertising health assessments, formerly Hungarian Health Assessment Centre ((Magyar Állapotfelmérő Centrum Kft.). The company has since changed its name to Other Human Health Services Ltd. (Egyéb Humán Egészségügyi Szolgáltató Kft.).

Well-hidden well-being shops

In our previous stories, we reported the flourishing companies offering health assessments and peddling products advertised as well-being products, specialising mainly in the retired. Hungarian authorities have already noticed the business: the police and the GVH have also dealt with similar products and companies.

However, we have not yet reported on where these condition assessments are carried out and exactly where the well-being products are sold, because

most shops do not have a website, Facebook page, or even a Google Maps page

so the only people who know where the health check is taking place are those targeted or who come across the adverts themselves.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that some of the shops change their name from time to time, and carry out eerily similar activities. But with a little searching, it is not impossible to find information about them.

Health-related English names

We have identified nearly fifty sites across the country, either currently operating or having been in existence in the past decade, from publicly available data on almost twenty health-related sites and branches.

A company’s site is the location where it does business. This is not always the same as the head office. Some firms also have branches, which are places of business in a municipality other than the one in which the firm is established.

We identified

four shops selling wellness and wellbeing products and offering health assessments in Budapest, and three in the countryside.

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The entrance to the Buda Care Center in mid-April 2024. Source: Atlatszo/ Zita Szopkó.

These are:

  • PureMed: 1052 Budapest, Petőfi Sándor utca 16. fszt.
  • CardioMed: 1066 Budapest, Ó utca 6.
  • MedHome: 1132 Budapest, Kresz Géza utca 25.
  • Buda Care Center: 1117 Budapest, Fehérvári út 17.
  • Life: 18, Miklós utca, 4025 Debrecen, Hungary.
  • Harmony: 4400 Nyíregyháza, Rákóczi utca 19.
  • In Szeged at 30b Cserzy Mihály u., Tópark Center
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The Life shop in Debrecen. Source: Átlátszó/Gerda Kántor-Újvári.

Map of the well-being shops

To see the extent of business activity, and where the shops are located, we have put the locations and branches on a map. We have marked in green those stores that are still operating, in yellow those that have closed in the last 5 years and in red those that were registered as a site or branch before 2019. What all the currently operating shops have in common is that they are all branches of the Hungarian Health Assessment Centre (more recently known as Other Human Health Services Ltd.).

We do not, of course, claim that these are the only locations where condition assessment is carried out, or that only the companies we have

The names of the shops are not listed in the company database, only the addresses, so we could only indicate the names of those we managed to visit or those we could view using Google Maps Street View going back a few years.

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The Harmony shop in Nyíregyháza. Source: Google Street View, 2023.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many of the latter, as there are no Google photos of streets during one of the most prosperous periods for the business, between 2014 and 2018.

A total of 28 Budapest addresses and 18 rural addresses from the last decade were identified.

However, the majority of these are no longer operational. Looking at the locations, it is clear that businesses change relatively quickly. The golden age was roughly 10 years ago, around 2013-15.

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The MedHome shop on Kresz Géza Street. Source: Átlátszó/Szopkó Zita.

Frequent name changes and closed shop with posters of Feró Nagy

It is typical for well-being companies to change their name several times, it is also observed for their shops.

We also found examples of wellness shops continuing their activities under a new name. For example, the shop on Rákóczi Road ran under Vital, then became Pre/Active. It is now closed, but if you take a peek inside you can still see Fero Nagy promoting a Biomag product with a photo and logo, which you can also find on the alternativeshop website.

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The interior of the shop at the corner of Rákóczi Street 57, Luther Street 1, mid-April 2024. Source: Atlatszo/ Soma Kiss.

The situation is similar with the shop on Petőfi Street, where in 2019 it was under the name Natural Health and Wellbeing Point, but now it is PureMed. This is one of the oldest shops still operating today – it was registered as a branch of Alternative Hungary Kft. 7 years ago.


The shop at Petőfi Street 16 in 2019 and April 2024. Google Street View, Source: Átlátszó/Szopkó Zita.

Some shops operate under three different names

However, the choice of health-related shop names and the use of foreign words is just one thing that can be observed about the location of health check-up companies. In one case, we found that a name similar to an existing business name was chosen, which led to problematic situations.

The shop in Ó Street is called CardioMed. An eerily similar name, Cardiomed Bt., is also found for a company formed in 1997, based in Budapest, engaged in retailing medical products. It seems that the shop’s customers have also confused the two companies several times, as Google Maps shows negative reviews under the name Cardiomed Bt. that refer to the shop on Ó Street.

“The biggest problem is that their clients kept calling us with complaints and other reasons,added the managing director of Cardiomed Bt. who also said they received around 50 false enquiries.

The name of the Ó Street shop itself is not uniform, depending on where you are looking at it. The Facebook page is called Cardio Medic, and when we visited the store, the sign at the entrance still read CardioMed. A third name on the website, CardioMed Budapest Centre, greets visitors. A man has to be on his feet to adjust to all this.


The entrance to the CardioMed shop on Ó Street and the logo of CardioMed Bt., a medical instruments distributor. Source: Atlatszo montage.

We have also emailed the shop on Ó Street called Cardiomed/Cardio Medic/Cardio Med Budapest Centre, but have not received a reply to our enquiry.

Translated by Zita Szopkó. The original, more detailed Hungarian version of this story was written by Soma Kiss and Zita Szopkó and is available here.