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


January 24, 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 September, the complaints that were upheld against health-related claims included:

  • Aswini Homeopathy & Ayurvedic Products (Aswini Hair Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “Now no Hair fall . . . . . . . Our Challenge,” was not substantiated and is misleading.
  • AVS Herbals (Energic-31Capsules): The advertisement’s claims (in Gujarati), as translated into English, “full of energy, keeps your weakness away,” “protect from sickness to increase Immunity, to increase life force, to reduce tiredness, to increase sexual powers and enhance sex act,” “particularly helpful for maintaining good married life,” were not adequately substantiated with clinical evidence of the product. Also, the claims are misleading. Further, specific to the claims related to the product benefit of “increasing sexual energy in men,” “helpful in leading a happy married life” – implying that the product is meant for enhancement of sexual pleasure – the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Ayurwin Pharma Pvt. Ltd. (Nutri Slim powder/Capsule): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “An ayurvedic drink that increases body metabolism and helps in slimming in just 3 months. Also claims to be safe and natural,” were not substantiated, and are misleading.
  • Buzz Live Foods (Pelicana DD Drinker’s Drive): The advertisement’s claims, “Pelicana DD is a beverage when added to acidic alcoholic drinks converts them into a positive health drink which reduces oxidative stress. Performs the role of a whole body stress reducer which gives freshness all over to the drinker,” were not substantiated with supporting clinical data specific to the product, and are misleading by gross exaggeration. The claim is also likely to encourage negligence among consumers regarding alcohol intake. Also the claims, “A Noble Prize winner and Tamil Scientist has invented this product after many years of research,” “Certified by World’s Leading Laboratories” and “World’s first breakthrough product,” were not substantiated with supporting proof, and are misleading by gross exaggeration.
  • Cadila Healthcare Ltd. (Nutralite): The visual shown in the advertisement read in conjunction with the claim, “indulge in your favourites without worrying about health,” implies that with Nutralite, one can indulge even in not so healthy food. It was noted that many other factors contribute to Cholesterol in the body and contribution of the advertised product to “cholesterol lowering” by virtue of being a “replacement” product is negligible. The advertisement is likely to exploit consumers’ lack of experience and knowledge. It was concluded that while the product does not contain cholesterol, the claim, “0% Cholesterol. 0% Worries.” is misleading by ambiguity and implication.
  • Care & Cure Herbals (X men Plus): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Passion, Strength and Stamina,” “Effective from day one,” “Interested people can also try and see the results” and “Complete Sexual Therapy,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data, and are misleading. Also, the product benefit claims read in conjunction with the advertisement 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.
  • Clarins (Clarins White Plus): The advertisement’s claims, “After 4 Weeks, 85% No more New Spots, 94% Skin Looks Fairer, 94% Skin is more Translucent,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy, and the claims were considered to be misleading by ambiguity.
  • Cosmic Grace: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), “Cure prostate Cancer, Stone, Eye disease,” were not substantiated, and are misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to cure of prostate cancer, Stone, Eye disease, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. Also, the advertisement exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. Advertiser did not produce explicit permission from the political personalities whose reference have been made in the advertisement. This tends to bring these persons into ridicule and disrepute.
  • Curves & Smile: The claim in the advertisement, “Lose weight two to three kilograms per week,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence, and is misleading.
  • D.K.Bhardwaj: The claims in the advertisements as translated into English, “Open challenge, solution for all problems except death. 5000% guaranteed, effect begins within one minute,” “A specialist in making you be with the desired male or female. Make your desired female or male do whatever you desire by hypnotizing/controlling them,” “Get rid of the other woman enemy. Teach a lesson to your enemies,” “If you want a love marriage, a quick wedding, even if your girlfriend/boyfriend or parents don’t agree. Make your parents agree, guaranteed,” “To hypnotize/control anyone or to break anyone’s hypnotism/control,” “As soon as the spell is cast, girlfriend, boyfriend, wife will come back running to you” and “Lottery, Satta (gambling) specialist,” 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.
  • Deemark Health Care Pvt. Ltd. (Love Forever VT): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “We bring magic of modern science Deemark Love forever VT for you, Advanced & unique product which is effective for stimulation and stress-related diseases. Effect starts after use, absolutely harmless and Effective, so give your love new heights & experience those moments of passionate love again with DeemarK Love forever VT,” “Love Forever- Strength, Length, Time, Energy Power” and “For a satisfied, Happy married life, your energetic, passionate and right shape,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data, and are misleading. Also, the product benefit claims read in conjunction with the claim that the product is for men only, 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.
  • Dr G Wellness Private Ltd. (Arthritplus): The claim in the advertisement, “Reversing Arthritis” is not proved in a scientific manner with clinical evidence and is misleading by gross exaggeration. Further this claim for the product which is positioned as food supplement, is likely to mislead the consumers into believing that the product would have curative effect on Arthritis.
  • Dr. A. K. Jain: The advertisement’s claims, “India’s Top Ranking Sexologist on Google,” was not substantiated with supporting evidence and with comparative data versus other similar clinics in the same category, and is misleading. In addition, the claim, “Complete Solution for all venereal diseases,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence, and is misleading. Also, specific to the claims implying cure for venereal diseases, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Emami Agrotech Limited (Emami Healthy & Tasty Refined Rice Brand Oil): The advertisement makes a comparison of Rice Bran oil (containing Oryzanol) with Sunflower oil (without Oryzanol) and implies that the advertised product would provide benefits (protection from heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol) by virtue of Oryzanol. The claim in the advertisement encouraging “Regular consumption” of advertised oil only was not considered to be appropriate. Also the claims, “Regular Consumption helps – i. Protect from heart diseases ii. Helps improve immunity iii. Reduce cholesterol” were not adequately substantiated for the advertised product composition. It was concluded that in absence of any direct and conclusive clinical evidence to show that Emami Rice Bran oil is better versus Ordinary Refined sunflower oil in reducing bad cholesterol and protecting from heart disease, the advertisement is misleading by ambiguity and implication.
  • Emami Agrotech Limited (Emami Healthy & Tasty Soyabean Oil): in absence of clinical evidence specific to the advertised product, the claims in the advertisement, “Regular Consumption helps Lowers the risk of high blood pressure,” “Reduce risk of heart diseases” and “Improves skin health,” were inadequately substantiated with clinical research data, and are misleading by ambiguity.
  • Emami Agrotech Limited (Emami Healthy & Tasty Sunflower Oil): In absence of clinical evidence specific to the advertised product, the claims in the advertisement, “Regular consumption helps reduce risk of heart disease” and “Lowers bad Cholesterol,” attributed directly to the advertised product were inadequately substantiated.
  • Fizikem Formulations (Madhucure Diabetic Juice): The advertisement’s claim, “Drinking Madhucure diabetic juice will control blood sugar levels,” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading. Also, specific to the product name implying cure of Diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Good Care Pharma Products (Neem Guard and Stress Guard): The advertisement’s claims, “Neem Guard-Clinically proven to rejuvenate your skin,” “Stress Guard – Clinically proven to reduce stress and fatigue” and “Improves alertness and concentration,” were not substantiated clinically with product efficacy data, and are misleading.
  • Goyal Ayurved and Herbals (Goyal Ayurved and Herbals Range of Products): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Reduce 3kg to 5kg in just one month” and “Make your fat body into a slim one,” were not substantiated with proof of efficacy, and are misleading. Also, with reference to obesity (“motapa“) in the advertisement and the pack visual, the advertisement is misleading by implication that the product would solve the problem of obesity and therefore is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act (item 38 under DMR schedule).
  • Inbisco India Private Limited (Kopiko Cappuccino): The advertisement’s claim, “Keeps You Awake,” was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity as it was noted that caffeine present in beverages such as coffee and tea that helps to keep one alert, while Kopiko cappuccino candy contains caffeine at much lower levels as against a standard coffee drink. While literature reference (with caffeine at much higher level of 50, 100, 200 mg) supports contribution of caffeine in helping alleviate the reversal of alertness and performance deficit resulting from sleep loss, the data submitted by the advertiser was not adequate to conclusively prove the claim of the Kopiko candy keeping one “awake” or delaying the onset of sleep as claimed, especially with the low caffeine level present in the product. The literature references referred to higher levels of caffeine and the effect mentioned was more of “sleep disturbance.”
  • Johnson & Johnson Ltd (Clean & Clear Foaming face wash): The advertisement’s claims, “To give 8 hours’ oil control,” was not substantiated adequately, and is misleading by implication as the claim “control” implies maintenance of sebum level at a particular fixed value whereas, the product is demonstrating “reduction” and not “control” over the eight hour period. Also, the study indicates that even simple water has demonstrated reduction of the sebum levels at different time points.
  • Kaleesuwari Refinery Pvt. Ltd. (Cardia Life Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “Helps in improving immunity and control cholesterol,” were not substantiated with robust scientific data specific to the oil blend. Also, the claim is misleading by ambiguity and exploits consumers’ lack of experience and knowledge.
  • Kerni Fitness Pvt. Ltd. (Fitness Universe Animal Effect): The advertisement’s claims, “Fitness universe is an advance fat burning, metabolism enhancing and energy boosting formulation comprised of unique ingredients which promotes thermogenesis. It burns more calories and burns fat than exercise and diet alone,” were not substantiated with supporting technical data of the product composition and clinical evidence of product efficacy and are misleading.
  • Kudos Laboratories India Ltd. (IME-9 Tablets): The advertisement claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “IME-9 tablets bring sugar under complete control” and “India’s first wonder drug to treat diabetes globally,” were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and are grossly misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to cure of Diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Lifespan Clinic India (Lifespan Diabetes Clinics): The advertisement’s claims, “2 out of 3 patients have successfully lowered their blood sugar levels by thoroughly following Lifespan’s treatment” and “Over 40,000 Satisfied Diabetics,” was not substantiated with supporting proof and is misleading by gross exaggeration.
  • Lifezen Health Care Pvt. Ltd. (Eye Spa): The advertisement’s claim, “Safe to use Clinically Proven,” was not substantiated clinically with product efficacy data. Also the claim, “Trusted Formula Recommended by Eye-Specialists,” was not proven with supporting data. Further, the claims are misleading by exaggeration.
  • Lotus Herbals Limited (Lotus Safe Sun Whitening Plus): The advertisement’s claim, “Botanical Extracts gives whitening glow,” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy or any clinical study report. Also, the advertiser did not provide any substantiation for the SPF value of “SPF 40” through any technical test or a third party certification. The claims are misleading by exaggeration.
  • M.K Agrotech Private Limited (Sunpure Sunflower Oil): The advertisement’s claims, “Get the Natural Vitamins” and “Get the benefits of Vitamins in their pristine form, not to forget Natural Oryazanol,” were not substantiated with supporting technical data for the advertised product, and are misleading.
  • Manav Care Chikitsalay: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “100% Guaranteed Treatment of venereal disease,” “Guaranteed treatment of venereal disease in men & women, weakness because of masturbation, Premature Ejaculation, Wet dreams, Impotence, Minuteness, thinness through machine” and “Complete Cure in 20 Days,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence and are misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to guaranteed treatment for sexual problems, impotency, and the advertisement visual implying enhancement of sexual pleasure, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated the Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Nanophyto Pharmacy (UR Halt): The advertisement’s claims, “100% Natural and Scientific,” “No side effects,” Don’t Stress Just Put A Full Stop To Urinary Incontinence,” “URhalt control Naturally,” “100% natural phytomedicine.,” “No more dependence on adult diapers or surgical procedures,” “Controls urinary incontinence naturally,” “100 percent natural and scientific phytomedicine medicine derived from plants,” “Clinically evaluated formula,” “No side effects,” and “No more dependence on adult diapers and surgical procedures,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading by gross exaggeration.
  • Nature’s Essence Pvt Ltd.( Nature’s Lacto Tan Clear): The advertisement’s claims (in Bengali) as translated into English, “Nature’s lacto tan clear with milk and honey, makes skin tan free” was not substantiated with supporting evidence, and is misleading. Also, the visual showing the transformation of the dark complexion to fair, is misleading by exaggeration.
  • Nidan Ayurveda India Pvt. Ltd.: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Sugar levels can reduce within 30 days,” “Get rid of Diabetes and other life threatening diseases” and “Get cured of sugar problems immediately” were not substantiated with supporting clinical data. Also, specific to the claims related to treatment of Diabetes, cure for sugar problems, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Oxymed Hospital: The advertisement’s claim, “To cure heart disease without any surgery, no pain, no anaesthesia and no hospitalization” was not substantiated with clinical evidence. Also, the claim, “India’s first hospital to give latest treatment for all disease without any surgery,” was not substantiated with comparative data versus other similar hospitals to prove this claim. The claims are misleading by exaggeration.
  • Oxymed Hospital: The claim in the advertisement, “To cure heart blockage without any surgery, no pain, no anesthesia and no hospitalization required,” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence. The claim is misleading by exaggeration.
  • Oxymed Hospital: The claim in the advertisement, “To cure leg joint pain without any surgery, no pain, no anesthesia and no hospitalization required,” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence. The claim is misleading by exaggeration.
  • Perfect Point (Cool sculpting treatment): The advertisement’s claims, “Even after Dieting and Exercise there was no loss of belly fat” and “Reduced 20 kilograms & nine inches from belly,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading. Also, efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment is misleading.
  • Puressenz (Lup Tup Herbal Concentrate): The advertisement’s claims, “Lup Tup helps in curing obesity, diabetes, blood pressure and heart attack,” were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to cure of diabetes, blood pressure and heart attack,” the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act. The claim related to cure of obesity is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act (item 38 under DMR schedule).
  • Sai Hospital: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Successful treatment of Kidney, renal tubules, Urinary bladder stones (PCNL, URS, Cystolithotrity),” “Successful treatment of Congenital kidney & other urinary problems” and “Successful treatment of impotence,” were not substantiated with supporting clinical data, and are misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to successful treatment of Kidney, Urinary bladder stones, and impotency, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Sairaa Hair Gel: The advertisement’s claim (in Tamil) as translated into English, “Controls hair fall in just Seven Days,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy. Also, the claim is misleading.
  • Sex Clinic (Sex Clinic Range of Products): The claim in the advertisement (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Effect starts from the first dose itself,” was not substantiated with product efficacy data, and is misleading. Also, specific to the claims implying treatment for sexual problems, read in conjunction with advertisement visual implying enhancement of sexual pleasure, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Shakti Sudha Agro Ventures Pvt. Ltd. (Shakti Sudha Makhana): The advertisement’s claims, “Also good for Anti-Ageing, Diabetes, Arthritis & Rheumatic Pain, Healthy Heart, Blood Pressure” and “Immuno stimulant Food,” were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading. Also the claim, “India’s No.1 Processor & exporter of gorgon Nut (Makhana),” was not substantiated with comparative data versus other similar processor and exporter of Gorgon Nut or any third party validation to prove this claim, and is misleading by exaggeration.
  • Shree Baidyanath Ayur Bhawan (Baidyanath Vita-EX Gold Women): The advertisement’s claim, “Energy, Enjoyment, Satisfaction,” was not substantiated with product efficacy data, and is misleading. Also, the claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Energy, Enjoyment, Satisfaction,” read in conjunction with the advertisement 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.
  • Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Pvt. Ltd. (Baidyanath Madhumenhari): The claims in the advertisement, “Break through research has helped me keep my blood sugar under control,” “Helps stimulate pancreas to reduce high blood sugar” and “Researched and clinically tested,” were not clinically substantiated with proof of efficacy, and are misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to control of blood sugar (i.e. diabetes), the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Signature Skin: The advertisement’s claim, “Fastest & Safest Treatment Results for Psoriasis & Vitiligo!” was not substantiated adequately with authentic evidence, and is misleading by exaggeration.
  • Sri Nageshwar Ortho & Trauma Centre: The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Successful treatment of Paralysis,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence and is misleading. Also, specific to the claim related to successful treatment of Paralysis, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Srigiri Ayurvedic Hospital: The advertisement’s claim, “Get Your Natural Hearing Without Any Hearing Aid And Without Operation,” was not substantiated with supporting evidence and is misleading by exaggeration. Also, specific to the claim implying treatment for deafness, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Standard Laboratories (Navab- E-Navab): The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Use for happy married life,” was not substantiated with product efficacy data, and is misleading. Also, the claim, “Use for happy married life” read in conjunction with 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.
  • Tara Nutricare (Tara Magik Mass): The advertisement’s claims, “Our bestselling weight gainer with great result,” “Helps in the development in muscle mass and size” and product packaging claim, “Magik Mass,” were not substantiated and are misleading.
  • The Fitness Zone: The claims, “Turn Fat in to SLIM,” and “Reduce up to 5 Kg in just 12 Hours,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading. Also, efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment is misleading.
  • Thosh (Thosh Ion Shower): The advertisement’s claims, “Good news for those who are suffering from Asthma, Respiratory diseases & Breathing problems, Allergy, Migraine Insomnia, And those who are fed up of taking heavy medication and pills for the same. Now Negative Ion therapy has a solution,” were not substantiated, and are misleading by exaggeration.
  • Trim-O-Fast Herbal Slimming Kit: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Through Ayurvedic reduce weight, look attractive within 30 days,” was not substantiated with proof of efficacy. The claim as well as the pack visual in the advertisement implies a significant weight loss which is also grossly misleading.
  • VLCC Personal Care Limited (VLCC Slimmer’s range of products): The product name and the variant name, “Slimmer’s Herbal Infusion with Green Tea” and “Slimming” respectively, are likely to mislead consumers by implication and the benefit of slimming attributable to the advertised product was not substantiated adequately.
  • Zimalaya Drug Pvt. Ltd. (Slr Four Power Booster Capsules): The advertisement’s claims, “Guaranteed Increase sperm count in male,” “For increasing sperm count in male,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data, and are misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to the product benefit for men, implying that the product is meant for treatment of sexual impotence, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act