Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Advertising Standards Authority (HO 44a)
RELEVANT ADVERTISING CODES AND HOMEOPATHY
The Advertising Codes can be found in full
on the CAP website: www.cap.org.uk
3.1 Before distributing or submitting a
marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary
evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that
are capable of objective substantiation.
Relevant evidence should be sent without delay
if requested by the ASA or CAP. The adequacy of evidence will
be judged on whether it supports both the detailed claims and
the overall impression created by the marketing communication.
The full name and geographical business address of marketers should
be provided without delay if requested by the ASA or CAP.
3.2 If there is a significant division of
informed opinion about any claims made in a marketing communication
they should not be portrayed as generally agreed.
7.1 No marketing communication should mislead,
or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration,
omission or otherwise.
7.2 Marketing communications must not omit,
hide or provide in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely
manner material information if that omission or presentation is
likely to affect consumers' decisions about whether and how to
buy the advertised product, unless the information is obvious
from the context. If the advertisement is limited by time or space,
the ASA will take into account steps that the advertiser has taken
to make that information available to consumers by other means.
50. Health and Beauty Products and Therapies
50.1 Medical and scientific claims made
about beauty and health-related products should be backed by evidence,
where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people. Where
relevant, the rules will also relate to claims for products for
animals. Substantiation will be assessed by the ASA on the basis
of the available scientific knowledge.
50.3 Marketers should not discourage essential
treatment. They should not offer specific advice on, diagnosis
of or treatment for serious or prolonged conditions unless it
is conducted under the supervision of a doctor or other suitably
qualified health professional (eg one subject to regulation by
a statutory or recognised medical or health professional body).
Accurate and responsible general information about such conditions
may, however, be offered.
50.6 Marketers offering individual treatments,
particularly those that are physically invasive, may be asked
by the media and the ASA to provide full details together with
information about those who will supervise and administer them.
Where appropriate, practitioners should have relevant and recognised
qualifications. Marketers should encourage consumers to take independent
medical advice before committing themselves to significant treatments,
including those that are physically invasive.
50.11 Medicines must have a marketing authorisation
from the MHRA before they are marketed and any claims made for
products must conform with the authorisation. Medicinal claims
should not be made for unauthorised products. Marketing communications
should refer to the MHRA, the authorisation or the EC only if
required to do so by the MHRA.
50.19 Homeopathic medicinal products must
be registered in the UK. Any product information given in the
marketing communication should be confined to what appears on
the label. Marketing communications should include a warning to
consult a doctor if symptoms persist. Marketing communications
for unauthorised products should not make any medicinal or therapeutic
claims or refer to any ailment.
RADIO BCAP CODE
The Radio BCAP Code includes principles on
substantiation and truthfulness, similar to those in the non-broadcast
CAP Code, which can be found online.
4.13 Homeopathic Medicinal Products
Advertisements for homeopathic medicines are
acceptable, subject to all relevant requirements of EC Council
Directive 2001/83/EC (as amended by 2004/27/EC) on medicinal products
for human use implemented in the UK by the Medicines (Advertising)
Regulations 1994 (as amended).
(a) advertisements are only acceptable for products
which have been registered in the UK;
(b) product information must be confined to that
which appears in Schedule 5 of the Medicines (Advertising)
Advertisements may not, therefore, include medicinal
or therapeutic claims or refer to a particular ailment; and
(c) advertisements must include wording such
as "always read the label" or "always read the
leaflet" as appropriate.
TV BCAP CODE
The TV BCAP Code includes principles on substantiation
and truthfulness, similar to those in the non-broadcast CAP Code,
which can be found online.
8.2.2 Homeopathic medicinal products
(a) Only homeopathic medicinal products
which are registered in the UK may be advertised.
(b) The only information which may be included
is that which is allowed to appear on product labelling. Advertisements
may not, therefore, include medicinal or therapeutic claims or
refer to a particular ailment.
Note to 8.2.2:
This rule incorporates the requirements of
EC Directive 2001/83/EC (as amended by EC Directive 2004/27/EC)
on Medicinal Products For Human Use.
CAP COPY ADVICE
This section should be read in conjunction with
the entry on "Therapies, General".
This discipline works on the principle of treating
like with like, with the active ingredient diluted heavily in
water. Despite its popularity, CAP understands that no scientific
rationale exists for assuming that remedies lacking in pharmacologically
active molecules can produce clinical effects and is unaware of
robust evidence that proves it does. Some homeopaths seem to be
medically qualified and therefore regulated by the General Medical
Council. Those who are medically qualified may make claims about
treating conditions but only if it is clear that the efficacy
is due to conventional treatments. Those practitioners who are
not medically qualified should not make claims about the efficacy
of their treatments and should not refer to serious medical conditions.
In July 2007 the General Media Panel considered
the application of Clause 50.6. It concluded that complementary
and alternative therapy practitioners offering significant or
invasive treatments should encourage consumers to take independent
medical advice before committing themselves to the treatment.
Clause 50.19 requires homeopathic medicinal
products to be registered in the UK. Marcoms should refer consumers
to a doctor if their symptoms persist and should not make medicinal
or therapeutic claims for unauthorised products. See "Medicines:
TWO RECENT RULINGS
HOMEO HOME25 MARCH
Monitoring staff viewed an ad in Bengali on
Channel S for the Homeo Home homeopathic practice. The ad showed
a sign for the homeopathic practice; it stated "Dr Chakresh
Chakraborty, Homeopathic Consultant".
A man, referred to in on-screen text as "Dr
Chakresh Chakraborty", was shown sitting at his desk with
a stethoscope. The Bengali voice-over stated "Renowned homeopathic
practitioner from Dhaka, Dr. Chakresh Chakraborty" has been
treating a lot of new and complex diseases for the last three
for asthma, skin disease, sexual diseases,
spondilitis, diabetes, hay fever, migraine, infertility, piles,
mental stress and various other diseases
Monitoring staff challenged whether the ad:
1. gave the impression of professional medical
2. made medical and therapeutic claims for treatments
and referred to specific ailments.
Channel S stated that homeopathic consultants
were often referred to as doctors within the Asian community.
We considered the ad implied the man providing the treatment was
offering professional medical advice because, in the on-screen
text and the voice-over, he was referred to as "Dr Chakresh
Chakraborty" and also as "Homeopathic Consultant".
Also, the ad showed people being offered advice in a setting that
looked like a doctor's surgery. We understood that Dr Chakresh
Chakraborty was not qualified as a medical doctor and so referring
to him as such was misleading. We considered that giving the impression
of professional advice was unacceptable in advertisements for
products or treatments within the remit of Section 8 of the
We considered that the ad implied medical treatments
were being offered. Furthermore, the ad referred to specific ailments,
contrary to the Code.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast TV Advertising
Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising) and 8.1.2 (Impressions
of professional advice and support).
8.2.2 (b) (Homeopathic medicinal products).
We concluded that the ad must not be shown again
in its present form.
DARULSHAFA SHIRQUIA15 JULY
A TV ad, in Urdu, for a herbal practitioner
showed a man limping into a clinic. The ad featured scenes of
the clinic staff and then showed the same man playing football
with a group of boys. The voice-over stated "Darulshafa herbal
clinic has been established in the UK for 41 years. Mr Mazhar
Rana is a qualified herbalist and has been practising for the
past 23 years
All our remedies are prepared
using herbs from all over the world and to the finest standards
possible. For treatment in good time contact us today". On-screen
text throughout the ad gave the contact details for clinics in
Bradford, London and Birmingham, as well as a website address.
One of the staff members stated "Darulshafa. Renewing traditions,
One viewer, a medical doctor, challenged whether
the implied claim that the advertiser's herbal remedies could
treat and cure medical conditions could be substantiated.
The ASA considered that the scene of the man
limping into the clinic, followed by the scene of the same man
playing football, implied that he had a medical condition that
had been treated at the clinic. We considered that impression
was reinforced by the claim "All our remedies are prepared
using herbs from all over the world and to the finest standards
possible. For treatment in good time contact us today", which
was spoken over the scene of the man playing football, and which
we considered suggested that the man had been treated using herbal
Furthermore, we were concerned that some viewers
might consider the man had not only been treated but cured of
his medical condition. We considered that, unless allowed by a
marketing authorisation, illustrations that implied a cure of
any medical condition were unacceptable. We were also concerned
that, by offering a treatment or cure for a medical condition,
the ad gave the impression that a medical consultation was not
necessary for conditions for which qualified medical advice should
We noted that we had not seen any evidence that
showed that the herbal remedies provided by Darulshafa could treat
or cure medical conditions or that they held a marketing authorisation,
and we therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising
Standards Code rules 5.1.1 (Misleading advertising), 8.2.6 and
8.2.9 (Medicinal products and treatments).
The ad must not appear again in its current