Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Health-Related Decisions and Recommendations, August 2016


January 26, 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 August, the complaints that were upheld against health-related claims included:

    • Amba Health Clinic: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Treatment to gain Weight,” “Stayed Development,” “Increase height or get your money back,” “Sure-shot Treatment of piles,” “Effective from the beginning, get cured in 60-90 Days,” “Nightfall, Premature Ejaculation, Sexual weakness in Men,” “Masturbation, Penis Disorders, Weakness in Nerves,” “You can get rid of loose thin and crooked Penis,” “Itchiness in your sexual Organs,” “Low Sperm Count,” “Ovarian Cyst,” “Leucorrhoea White Discharge,” “Sagging of Sexual Organs,” “Lack of Sexual Desire,” “Irregular Periods,” “Make you small loose underdeveloped chest into a shapely, beautiful and attractive one,” “Enhance your Feminity” and “Improve Husband Wife Relationship,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading. In addition, specific to the claims related to increase in height, and treatment for sexual diseases, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act, 1954. As for the claims related to treatment for Piles, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated Schedule J of The Drugs and Cosmetic Act, 1940 and Rules, 1945.
    • Avion Biotech (K lor Free): The advertisement’s claims (in Gujarati), as translated into English, “Controls the diabetes by increasing the production of insulin,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence, and is misleading by exaggeration.
    • B P Food Products Pvt. Ltd. (Double Trishul Atta): The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “The Double Trishul Atta Chakki Fresh Atta is packed with natural food grade packing material so that the entire family can be protected from many serious diseases,” was not substantiated and is misleading.
    • Beltek Canadian Wayer Ltd. (Wild Vitamin Drink): The advertisement’s claim that most of the beverages in the industry contain more than 10 gm of sugar per 100 ml was not substantiated. Hence, the claim “low sugar” was misleading by ambiguity.
    • Biotique (Biotique bio kelp Shampoo): The advertisement’s claims, “Clinically tested,” “97 percent reported thicker, fuller, stronger and faster growing hair” and “Thicker, fuller, healthier hair,” were not substantiated with proof of efficacy for the product, and are misleading.
    • Bluebird purifier RO water: The claim in the advertisement, “its alkaline minerals protect you from diseases,” was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity as there was no conclusive evidence to show how the water is richer in alkaline minerals and provides protection from diseases.
    • Cadila Healthcare Ltd. (Zydus Acti Life): The advertisement’s claims, “Cholesterol Control” and “to reduce the cholesterol,” were not substantiated, and are misleading.
    • Chetan Clinic: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “Sex Problems? Get Successful Treatment with Ayurvedic Medicines,” was not substantiated with clinical data and is misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to successful treatment for sex problems and the claims, “Sex Problems? Get Successful Treatment with Ayurvedic Medicines” and “Now You too can Enjoy Married Life to your Heart’s Content,” read in conjunction with the advertisement visual implies enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Chetanta (Get Diabetes cured by acupressure Spring): The advertisement’s claims (in Gujarati), as translated into English, “Diabetes expert Dr. Chetan Daswani has treated innumerable patients and they have benefited from it. Dr. Daswani cures the disease of diabetes without giving any medicine, injection, and tablet. He has done this successful research,” were not substantiated with data to prove qualifications of Dr. Chetan Daswani as a diabetes expert, clinical evidence to support treatment without medicine and are grossly misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to treatment for Diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Divine Care: The advertisement of Divine Care claims, “Permanent End to Pain” and “No pain, No Surgery, No Diet, No Side Effect,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading.
    • Dr. Bhavana Shah Fitness Care Pvt. Ltd. (Fat Freeze): The advertisement’s claims, “World’s Best Waist Reduction Treatment” and “Latest and Fastest Technology,” were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Dr. Dassan’s Ayurvedic Herbal (Body Walk Oil): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “More Active Part BODY WALK OIL and medicine penetrates deep in to the joints and helps produce cartilage and works on the pain from the roots,” “Now no need to change your Knee” and “Results in 20 Days or Money Back,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy. Also, the claims are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Dr. Rana’s Health Care (Gaino Power Powder): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “We will give you Freedom from Thin Body,” “Tested on more and more people” and “Shows immediate effect,” were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Dr. Sneh’s Mind Power (Mind power workshop): The advertisement’s claims (in Gujarati) as translated in English, “attending this program you get freedom from- Depression, body diseases, negative thoughts, anger, stress and misunderstanding,” “Progress in job/business,” “sweetness in relationship,” “’20 Lac Indians benefited’,” were not substantiated with authentic scientific evidence and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • German Homeo Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. (German Homeo Laboratory): The advertisement’s claims (in Bengali) as translated into English, “Don’t be upset, without side-effect use homeo treatment” and “Our Speciality Treatment – Lack of Sex Desire, Arthritis, Piles, Fistula, White Patches, Psoriasis, Sterile, Women’s Problem, Obesity, Gastric Blood Pressure,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading. Specific to the claims related to treatment for sexual problems, with the headline “Unhappy married life/ unsuccessful married life” and the visual implying enhancement of sexual pleasure, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act, 1954.
    • Green Rev Agro Pvt. Ltd. (Zero Sugar): The advertisement claims, “Balances blood sugar & lowers your blood pressure,” “Improves immunity,” were not substantiated and are grossly misleading.
    • I.T.C. Limited (Aashirvaad Sugar Release Control Atta): It was observed in the advertisement of Aashirvaad Sugar Release Control Atta that the graphical representation indicates the sugar release pattern of high GI food and the voice over states that the advertised product would not result in sudden spike in your sugar level. Hence the product description of “Sugar release control” was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication that the low GI atta has curative property in reducing the overall blood sugar level. Further the advertisement is set in the context of the protagonist’s husband having high sugar level. While the claim, “Natural grain mix in the atta ensures your sugar levels do not rise suddenly” holds for the sugar release from the atta based food, it is likely that the consumers would be misled into believing that the low GI atta would have beneficial / curative effect on sugar release of other High GI food that is ingested as well. Also, the claim, “Eat rotis without worrying about sugar levels,” is misleading by ambiguity as rotis cannot be eaten by diabetics in excess. High intake of carbohydrates, even though low in GI value, will ultimately increase sugar levels.
    • Jay Pranav Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals (Body Plus Capsules): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “Increase Appetite” and “Gain Weight,” were not substantiated with proof of efficacy of the product and any clinical evidence and are misleading.
    • Jippo African Capsule and African Oil: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “100% Ayurvedic, No Side Effects,” “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed,” “Men can use capsule and oil for better results” and “Amateurs can also use and see effects,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data and are misleading. Also, these claims related to the product benefit read in conjunction with the advertisement visual and the pack visual implies that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Kerni Fitness Pvt Ltd (Fitness Universe): The advertisement’s claims, “We offer a complete range of powders, capsules, bars, and drinks. These clinically proven, scientific nutritional supplements are developed through a six-stage research process that utilizer the expertise of leading nutritional scientists, doctors and universities,” were not substantiated with technical data, evidence of the six stage research process as well clinical research and are misleading.
    • Kudos Laboratories India Limited (Kudoos Range of Products): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “100 Years of Experience,” “In India 1st time untouched Ayurvedic medicine for Diabetes,” “Human Clinical Trial Tested,” were not substantiated adequately, and are misleading by exaggeration and implication. In addition, specific to the claim of treatment and control of diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. Also, the advertisement’s claims related to Kudos Active Slim Tea, “Helpful in weight control,” “Mixture of green tea, long pepper, work and other 10 ayurvedic medicines,” “Helps in Digestion process,” “Cure in Metabolism,” “Helps in weight reduce,” “Increase energy – gives stamina” and “Increase immunity – keep away from disease,” were not substantiated adequately with clinical evidence, and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • M.K.Agrotech Pvt. Ltd. Refined (Sunpure Sunflower Oil): The advertisement’s claim that Sunflower oil has “Natural Oryzanol,” was not substantiated with supporting technical data and is misleading. It was noted that Oryzanol is available in Rice bran oil and to claim presence of Natural Oryzanol in Sunflower oil, the manufacturer would have to mix Rice Bran Oil to Sunflower Oil. Such composition would make it “blended oil” and since the Oil does not say it is a blended oil, it is very unlikely that Oryzanol is included in the Sunflower oil.
    • N.I Education Trust (NIMS Blacumin Tea): The advertisement claims (in Malayalam), as translated into English, “Blacumin, a solution to every disease, now in tea powder,” “We can consume Blacumin, which is Natural Immunisation Improve, in the form of Nims Blacumin Tea,” “Make Nims Tea your habit” and “Stay away from Diseases,” were not substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Narang Group (Ocean Fruit Water): The advertiser had declared that in the ingredient list on the label, the quantity of Glucose, Electrolytes and Vitamins are present in each 500ml of Ocean Fruit Water. But it was noted that while these ingredients are present in the beverage, the adjective “Packed with” is misleading by exaggeration.
    • Nurture Health Care (Ayurex S Capsule): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “For Men Only,” “Vitality Capsules,” “Difference Guaranteed” and “In the Times of Happiness for Extra Pleasure,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data and are misleading. Also, these claims related to the product benefit read in conjunction with the advertisement visual imply that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure, which is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Olefia Biopharma Limited (Votif Range of Products): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “The lack of sexual desire,” “Premature ejaculation & nightfall,” “Scanty & thin semen,” “Swelling on nerves & lack of strength,” “Low sperm count & their weakness,” “Incomplete development of organs,” “Inability to complete the act of Fertility,” “Sagging of organ due to old age,” were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading. In addition, specific to the claims implying treatment for all sexual problems, and the claims, “The lack of sexual desire,” “Premature ejaculation & nightfall,” “Inability to complete the act of Fertility,” “Decrease in Erection,” read in conjunction with the advertisement visual implies that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure and is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Organic India Pvt. Ltd. (Organic Ghee): The advertisement’s claims, “100% Organic,” “USDA Organic,” “From organically raised mother cows” and pack claim in the advertisement “100% certified organic,” were not adequately substantiated with supporting evidence. Also, these claims are considered to be misleading by ambiguity.
    • Pretti Slim Clinic: The advertisement’s claims, “Mumbai’s No. 1 slimming clinic,” “Lose Belly Fat And Become Fit,” were not adequately substantiated with comparative data versus other similar clinics and criteria for selection. Specific to the claim of “Lose belly fat and become fit,”it was noted that while some fat loss may be possible with treatments, fitness is also achieved by other means such as healthy lifestyle and exercise regimens etc. Hence, the claim, “Lose Belly Fat And Become Fit,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence for the services being offered. The claims as well as the visual in the advertisement – particularly of the male model shown in a trouser that is very loose at the waist, implying a significant weight loss, is also misleading.
    • Rajvaidya Shital Prasad & Sons (Hempushpa): The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi), “No. 1 Medicine and Tonic trusted of crores of women since 90 years,” was not substantiated with supporting proof, and is misleading by exaggeration. They also claim, “Women Health Issues? Treat it from the Roots” which was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading.
    • Rex Remedies Pvt Ltd (Rex Dimaghi Brain Tonic): The advertisement’s claim (in Urdu) as translated into English, “Increases the memory, Gives Success,” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading by exaggeration.
    • Simla Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. (Simco Herbal Shampoo): The advertisement’s claims, “5 Problem solver- Falling hair, dandruff, weak roots, premature greying, dull and lifeless hair,” “Herbal Shampoo with extra Conditioner” and “Herbal shampoo for your all hair needs,” were not substantiated with evidence of product benefits. Also, the claim, “Hair expert since 1948,” was not substantiated with supporting evidence and is misleading.
    • SpiceJet Ltd.: The complaint was pertaining to the in-flight meal served by SpiceJet Ltd. and the mismatch of the product visual in the advertisement on the website and the actual product served to the complainant. It was concluded that the visual of the product shown on the product packaging and on the website did not resemble the actual product in the box served to the complainant and is misleading.
    • Sunnah Enterprises (Barley Sattu): The advertisement’s claims (in Urdu) as translated into English, “Keeps your weight in control,” “Keep Protection from Sunlight and Heat,” “benefit in migraine” and “prevent obesity,” were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading. It was also noted that the FSSAI number quoted in the advertisement (13815015000173) was an invalid number.
    • The Third Eye: The advertisement’s claims, “100% Money Back Guarantee” and “Brain Course Activation – A child when Blindfolded can do the Following – Identify Colors – Book Reading – Cycling – Skating – Play Chess – Reading Headlines of A Newspaper,” was not adequately substantiated with supporting evidence, and are grossly misleading.
    • Trikhaldarshi Masaliya Aghori Bapu (Icchadari Vashikaran): The advertisement’s claims (in Gujarati), as translated into English, “Solution in 1 hour with 1000% guarantee (He makes impossible, possible),” “Established since years and well-known, settled Solution for A TO Z problems,” “Double gold medalist, famous world over, king of tantra-mantra,” “Having many years’ experience,” “Eliminator of thousands of people’s suffering. Miracle of Girnar’s ascetic,” “Love problem, discord between husband and wife, problem with children, objects related to sorcery, Possibility of going abroad, divorce, one-sided love, getting rid of enemy, NRI problem, profit in business, land-property, debt-recovery, instant solution to all kinds of problems,” “Problem in going abroad, getting green card,” “Result at first attempt,” were not substantiated and are misleading by gross exaggeration. Also, the advertisement exploits the consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
    • VKS Verve Nectars Pvt Ltd (bgood Honey): The advertisement’s claims (in Malayalam), as translated into English, “Keep you young,” “Reduce Weight, Extra fat,” “Increase Immunity Power” and “Good for child brain growth,” were not adequately substantiated for the advertised product with evidence of product efficacy and are misleading.