Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Health-Related Decisions and Recommendations, July 2015

February 5, 2017

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) is a voluntary, self-regulatory organization for India’s advertising industry. The council and its Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) evaluate complaints from consumers and industry which assert that advertisements are false, misleading, indecent, illegal, leading to unsafe practices, and/or or unfair to competition, and therefore violate the ASCI Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising. In July, the complaints that were upheld against health-related claims included:

    • Alcos International: The advertisement’s claim “PA+++,” was not substantiated as the data submitted contained some general information about definitions of SPF and UV radiation, but there is no reference how it relates to the ALCOS/IONA product. Also, the visual shown in the advertisement is misleading as it implies complete protection from sun rays.


    • Clear Vision Eye Hospital Private Limited: The claims in the advertisement of “quality assurance,” “c-lasik wavefront and topolink treatment available,” were not substantiated with supporting evidence to prove that the hospital possesses equipment for wavefront and topolink treatment. Further the claim of “Extremely safe FDA approved” was considered misleading by exaggeration in view of the procedure not being free from risks or complications.


    • Cure Sight Laser Centre: The claims in the advertisement “India’s No. 1 LASIK centre,” “Complete removal of (freedom from) Glasses and contact lens without operation,” “The Most experienced team of doctors for LASIK in Gujarat and whole India” and “World’s best technology and fastest Refractive suit by Alcon,” were not substantiated.


    • DHI Global Medical Group: The claim in the advertisement which said “Results you can see within an Hour!” was not substantiated. The visuals of before and after the treatment were misleading. Specific to the claims implying baldness prevention is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Cosmetics Rule 106.


    • Dr Ghanshyam Patel’s Advanced Homeopathic Hospital & Clinical Research Centre: The claims in the advertisement, “Sureshot, fast and effective treatment by advanced invention and innovative medicines for all diseases (incurable as well),” “Piles – Warts/ Asthma – breathing/ Cancer/ Aids/ Arthritis, Acidity gets cured from its roots. Shortly get relieved from cold and asthma without steroid or inhaler and relief only by medicines, in case of piles – warts without operation and get permanent treatment,” were not substantiated. Specific to the claims related to treatment/cure for Piles, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940 and Rules, 1945. Also, specific to the claims related to treatment/cure for Cancer, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.


    • Emami Limited (Emami7 Oil in One): In the context of statement in the advertisement, “Everyday you lose up to 100 hair strands as regular hair fall but don’t lose heart,” the claim, “With the Magic of Seven Oils Hairfall is reduced from 100 to up to Four,” is misleading by ambiguity as it implies natural hair loss whereas the claim refers to hair fall due to breakage.


    • Hansa Medcell: The claim in the advertisement, “Gain specialist skills without sacrificing daily clinical practice,” is misleading since “Distance Education” cannot allow one to gain specialist skills in gastroenterology, cardiology etc., since all these specialities involve very special procedures like OGD Scopy and Colonoscopy (Gastroenterology) and Angiography, Angioplasty (Cardiology) etc. As per clause 7.20 of MCI Act (Amendment 2002) one can’t call oneself a specialist unless one has acquired specialist qualifications. The Medical Council does not offer recognition to distance education programmes. In addition the claim, “provide One year distance education of post- graduation programs from prestigious American college of gastroenterology John Hopkins University School of medicine,” was false and misleading by ambiguity.


    • HB Care 24: The claims in the advertisement, “Gain – reduce weight – No Exercise – No Medicine – No Dieting,” “Reduce 2 inches in just 1 hour sitting” and “Stop hairfall in 5 days” were not substantiated.


    • Jivo Wellness Pvt Ltd (Jivo Canola Cooking Oil): The advertisement claims, “Effective for healthy Heart and in reducing bad Cholesterol,” “Effective against diabetes, heart diseases,” “Effective against Cancer,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence specific to the product. The claims indicating efficacy against diabetes, heart disease and cancer were considered to be misleading by exaggeration as no specific credible clinical research was submitted to prove claims of efficacy against serious diseases.


    • Kent RO System Ltd (Kent Mineral RO Water Purifier): The advertisement claims “100% or total protection” which was misleading by exaggeration. Also, the claim, “100% protection/Total Protection from waterborne diseases,” is an absolute claim which was not substantiated.


    • Kent RO Systems Limited (Kent Mineral RO Water Purifier): The advertisement claims “sabse surakshit pani,” “100% protection” and “100% Health.” These claims have not been substantiated and are considered to be misleading.


    • Keva Ayurveda: The advertisement claims, “Increases Immunity. Improves memory, concentration & learning ability,” “Improves digestion & skin tone,” “Prevents recurrent infections, asthma & other allergic conditions” and “Improves speech, hearing & visual acuity,” were not substantiated.


    • L’Oreal India Pvt Ltd.: (Garnier Fructis Oil in Cream): The use of the word “nourishment” in the advertisement of Ganier Fructis Oil in Cream is likely to convey to the consumer that their product does something more than just making hair more smooth and manageable. In addition, the claim “2X Nourishment of Hair Oil” was considered misleading by ambiguity and implication.


    • LG Electronics India Ltd (LG Inverter V Air Conditioners): The advertisement’s claim “India’s only* AC that keeps mosquitoes away” was not adequately substantiated. Also the claim, “Mosquito protection” was not substantiated with evidence.


    • Lotus Herbals Limited (Lotus Herbals Phyto RX): The advertisement claims “100% women discovered firmer, younger skin in Four weeks,” “See the difference in Four weeks: – Firmer skin. – Reduction in fine lines, wrinkles & dark spots,” “SPF 25/ PA+++” and “Active Organic Ingredients – Ginseng, Ginger & Whey Protein.” These claims were not adequately substantiated and were found to be misleading.


    • Mankind Pharma Limited (Heal-O-Kind Nanofine Gel): The advertisement claims “Has strong anti-bacterial action,” “Reduces swelling, doesn’t allow scarring of wound,” “First Aid ka All-Rounder,” “Injury, burns, bruises, cuts and diabetic foot ulcer (these terms shown in the advertisement with a checkmark implying Heal-O-Kind gel is useful for these conditions)” and “The healing power of Nanofine Technology,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data.


    • Matsyafed Chitone (Anti Fat Formula): The advertisement’s claim “Chitosan Is your Safest Bet Against Fat. And It’s Proven,” was not substantiated.


    • Netralaya Super Specialty Eye Hospital: The claims “Freedom from Glasses and contact lens,” “First time in Ahmedabad to get all types of eye treatments under one place,” “World’s best and fastest Laser,” “Removal of One number in 1.4 seconds,” were not substantiated with supporting technical and factual data.


    • OPTM Health Care Private Limited (Varco Therapeutic Oil): The advertisement’s claim “Varicose Veins heal with Varco,” was not clinically validated. The advertisement further claims “Varco, the revolutionary organic bio-energetic phyto oil, is an effective solution to varicose veins, without surgery” and “Varco Blue vein remover Therapeutic Phyto Oil” are not adequately substantiated. Specific to the claims related to treatment of varicose veins is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Cosmetics Rule 106.


    • Shathayu Ayurveda: The advertisement claims “Redefine your natural curve with detox and fat burning paste massage to enhance metabolism and reduce body fat,” were not substantiated.


    • Shiseido India (Za True White Day Cream): The advertisement claims, “SPF 20 PA++,” “94% Improvement in Skin Clarity*, More Glowing & Radiant Skin*,” “100% Improvement in Skin Tone*, Reduction of Spots & Pigmentation*” and “Now see results in just Seven days!*,” were inadequately substantiated.


    • Torque Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd (No scars Cream): The TVC of the product claims “Changing dark skin and scars and resulting in facial skin glowing in one week” were not substantiated. The visuals in the TVC showing the transformation depict the protagonist as unhappy in the pre-use state. This also contravened Clause 2 of the ASCI guidelines for Advertisement of Fairness Improvement Products.


    • Vasan Healthcare Private Limited (Vasan Eye Hospital): The claims in the advertisement “World’s largest eye care network,” “Get rid of glasses permanently,” “They give accurate without fail eyesight in just 15 mins,” “One can enjoy vacation without glasses” and “ICL can be implanted in dry eyes and thin cornea,” were not substantiated.