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


January 27, 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 October, the complaints that were upheld against health-related claims included:

    • 34 Heart Care: The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Freedom from heart diseases, Treatment without operation,” and the visuals in the print advertisement were misleading by ambiguity and implication. Also, specific to the claims related to treatment of heart disease, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Aarav Speech & Hearing Clinic: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Complete solution to all the problems related to hearing & speech” was not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading by exaggeration, and “Speech Therapy for Stammering & Stuttering,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims implying cure for deafness (a condition referred in Schedule J item 13 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act) and reference to stammering and stuttering the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Cosmetics Rule 106 and The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Abbott Healthcare P. Ltd. (Pediasure): It was noted that the product is being depicted as an answer to daily balanced diet. The claim that Pediasure provides “Complete” nutrition is misleading and exaggerated as the description in the title and body of the study conducted calls it “oral supplementation”. Nutritional Supplement can be only a supplement and cannot replace Normal Nutrition, whatever it may contain. The advertisement’s claim, “Iske 37 Nutrients de “sampoorn poshan” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. The disclaimers in the advertisement (TVC) are not clearly legible. Also, the disclaimers in the Hindi advertisement (TVC) are not in the same language as the audio of the advertisement (TVC).
    • Achme A Health Ashram: The advertisement’s claim, “Lose up to eight and ten centimetres in one sitting from one area without any efforts,” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and is misleading by gross exaggeration.
    • Adila Biotech Pvt. Ltd (Asth Prash): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Effect starts within three days” and “Sure shot Medicine for respiratory diseases,” were not substantiated with evidence for product efficacy, or any clinical studies and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Advance Homeopathy Research Centre: The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Certificate from Golden Book of World Records for taking out 11*66mm stones without operation,” was not substantiated with authentic data, and is misleading by exaggeration.
    • Ambica Ayurved (Nav Paurush Capsule & Powder): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Helps in removing the weakness, gaining weight, helps in body building,” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • American Skin and Dental Centre: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Only safe & sure treatment of Baldness/Eyebrows/Less hair in beards” and “Through PRP (Platelets Rich Plasma Cells) get 500 percent growth with one vaccination,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims related to sure treatment of baldness implying a cure, (a condition referred in Schedule J of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act) the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Cosmetics Rule 106. Also, efficacy claims being depicted via images of before and after the treatment are misleading.
    • Arogya India Pharmacy: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “This medicine removes diabetes by developing insulin,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims implying cure of diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Ashoka Super Speciality Women Hospital: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Two times Limca Book of World Record for Successful treatment of thousands of childless couples in 25 years, Country’s First Test tube Baby Centre,” “Most Successful,” and “Time Lapse System – Success Rate 60% to 70%,” were inadequately substantiated with authentic supporting data, comparison with other similar hospitals and are misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims related to successful treatment for childless couples (implying successful treatment of infertility), the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Bajaj Corp. Ltd. (Bajaj Almonds Drops Hair Oil): The advertisement’s claims, “get the nourishment of almonds” and “it has goodness of almonds”; along with visuals showing almonds, without having undisputedly proven the presence of real almond oil in the product in a reasonable quantity was misleading by ambiguity and implication.
    • Bhatia Global Hospital & Endo-surgery Institute: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Now get freedom from obesity,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence among statistically significant number of people, and is misleading by exaggeration. Also, efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment is misleading. Specific to the claims implying cure from obesity, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Capitol Hospital: The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Successful treatment of cancer through Brachytherapy,” is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Dindayal Industries Ltd. (Rangoli Tablet): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Energising Tablet Specially for Women” and “An Effective Energy Booster, Stamina and Powerful tablets with the added Goodness of gold, Silver, Pearl, Saffron, the time tested elements that energise and revitalize the body,” were inadequately substantiated, and are misleading. While the advertiser said that the “Outstanding Achievement Award – 2016 (For Ayurveda)” was granted to them by Federation of MP Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it was not substantiated with details regarding the award such as copy of the award / certificate etc. The advertisement is misleading by omission of a disclaimer to qualify this claim.
    • Dr Danish Khan Wellness Clinic: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “First time in North India Instant & Permanent relief from pain through German technique matrix rhythm therapy in just 1-8 sittings,” were not substantiated with authentic supporting evidence. Also the claim, “Reduce 10 kg in just one month,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence. Further the claim, The Biggest Multi Speciality Physiotherapy Hospital in North India,” was not substantiated with comparative data versus other similar institutes in the same category or any third party validation or research to prove this claim. Also, the claims are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Geetanjali Hospital: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Upto 90% Successful Surgery,” “To detect cancer is easy but Getting it Diagnosed at the right time can help cure your cancer,” “1st time in India cure for cancer by FFF Radiosurgery,” “Cancer cells completely destroyed,” “Lung and Spinal cancer can be treated within three minutes” and “Brain Cancer can be cured within two minutes,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading by gross exaggeration. Specific to the claims related to treatment/cure for Cancer, Lung and Spinal cancer, Brain Cancer, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd. (Horlicks Growth): It was observed that the advertisement uses the word “naturally” (“New Horlicks Growth+ naturally enhances bone growth*. . . . “) and “Naturally” implies “Natural” growth without any artificial inputs. The use of this word “naturally” for an artificially composed drink supplemented in overall food intake is likely to mislead the consumers by ambiguity.
    • GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd. (Horlicks): The advertisement’s claims, “Horlicks now has two times higher immune-nutrients, that helps support your child’s immunity and make him taller, stronger, sharper,” “Strong inside. Taller, Stronger, Sharper outside,” were inadequately substantiated (in the context of immunity related claims) and are misleading by implication of enhancement of immunity. The advertisement was also misleading by ambiguity and omission of clear demarcation of two separate disclaimers for two distinct claims.
    • Herb On Naturals (Herb On SHAPE): The advertisement’s claims, “Loose weight faster,” “Burns fat- Help prevent fat buildups,” “Controls appetite – Reduces Overeating,” “Corrects mood- Reduces calorie intake,” “Ignites Metabolism – decreases your belly fat” and “No side effects,” were not substantiated with proof of efficacy of the product, and are misleading by exaggeration.
    • Herbal Strategi (Herbal Repellents  – Range of Products): The advertisement’s claim, “Prevent dengue by spraying certified herbal repellent,” was inadequately substantiated. While the advertiser has provided certificates by laboratories, the reference to “certification” in the context of “prevention of dengue” is misleading by ambiguity and implication as the product merely reduces mosquito bites by repellent action and reduction in mosquito landing on skin does not imply prevention of dengue.
    • Image Herbals (Till Night Capsule): The advertisement’s claim, “Best Ayurvedic Medicine for Happy Married Relationship,” was not substantiated with product efficacy data, and is misleading. Also, this claim 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.
    • Khushi Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd.: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi), as translated into English, “Lose Weight without any Yoga, without dieting in just 45 days,” “After The Deep Research In Ayurveda From Past Many Years, KHUSHI AYURVEDA PVT LTD Has Come Out With A Unique Medicine With Which You Can Lose Weight Without Any Restriction,” were not substantiated with product efficacy data. Also the claim, “If you don’t find any benefit, get your fees back,” was not substantiated with evidence to prove that fees have been refunded to those who have not been benefitted by the product. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and ambiguity.
    • Limra Active Viwing & Laser Skin Care Centre: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Remove baldness in two hours,” “Lose one & half kilograms weight in just one hour without medicine,” and “Get Rid of Spots and Scars of Chicken Pox,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading. Specific to the claims implying cure of baldness (a condition referred in Schedule J of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act) the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Cosmetics Rule 106. Claims efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment for baldness in the advertisement are misleading.
    • MFB Herbal Dawakhana (Alshifa Churna): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Reduce Weight,” “reduces two to four inches of your Belly fat in two months” and “Alshifa Churna reduces the excess fat on your body, arthritis and joints pain and your increased belly fat and makes your body and personality beautiful without any gym,” were not substantiated with proof of efficacy, and efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment in the advertisement and on the pack are misleading. With reference to the claim “motapa ghataye” and the accompanying 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.
    • Narayana Hrudayalaya Ltd. (Narayana Multispecialty Hospital): The advertisement’s claim, “The only reliable option in treatment of Joints related Problem.” was not substantiated with clinical evidence comparing with other possible options, and is misleading by gross exaggeration.
    • Powerlife Wellness Centre: The advertisement’s claims (in Gujarathi) as translated in English, “No Medicines, No Injections, No Radiation, No Operation, No Pain, No Side Effects, 100% Safe,” “Treatment of Diseases without medicine,” “Treatment for Cancer, Diabetes, Depression, Arthritis Etc,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading by gross exaggeration. Also, specific to the claims related to treatment for Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
    • Rediscover Clinic: The advertisement’s claims, “Get rid of unwanted bulges,” “Spot reduction Lose upto five to eight centimetres from one area (Non- Surgical),” “Seven Days Fast Track Programme Body Sculpting & Shaping-Lose unto 35-50 cm from Abdomen, Hips, Thighs etc. and upto five kilograms through Anticellulite treatment,” were not substantiated with clinical proof of treatment efficacy, and are misleading. Also, efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment in the advertisement is grossly misleading.

 

  • Respi Care (Salt Room Therapy): The advertisement’s claims, “100% Natural Therapy for Breathing & Skin Problems” – “Asthma – Bronchitis – Rheumatoid Arthritis – Sinusitis – Wheezing – Eczema – Psoriasis – ILD – COPD – Anxiety – Sarcoidosis – Stress – Pulmonary Fibrosis – Respiratory Allergy – Smokers Cough – Frequent Cold Cough – Atopic Dermatitis,” is ambiguous and is misleading by implication and exaggeration as it suggests cure for various ailments claimed in the advertisement including Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sarcoidosis.
  • Sahar Herbal Pharmacy Pvt. Ltd. (Rasayan Kalp Powder): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated in English, “Complete Benefit in 3 days,” was not substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy and is misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to remedy for sexual diseases 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.
  • Sahas Homeo Clinic and Medical Store: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Are you suffering from Kidney Stones? Cure for Kidney Stones is possible without operation” and “If you are suffering from any incurable diseases come to us we will help you to get cured with our Homeopathic Treatment,” were not substantiated with clinical evidence, and are misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims related to cure for Kidney stones, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
  • Shree Maruti Herbal (Stay On Power Capsules): It was noted that the advertisement with suggestive text in the body copy, claim of “Power capsule” and visuals read in conjunction, 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, Rule 106 Schedule J Item 36.
  • Surya Pharmaceuticals (Nephromed Tablets & Syrup): The advertisement’s claim, “Avoid Dialysis & Kidney Transplant,” was not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy and any clinical data specific to the product being advertised and was misleading by exaggeration. The claim of “Claims of healing accepted by the Govt.” was not misleading by ambiguity and implication.
  • The Body Care & Cure: The advertisement’s claim, “Reduce upto Five Kilograms in just 12 Hours,” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and is misleading by gross exaggeration.
  • 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 gross exaggeration.
  • Unique Permanent Hair Loss Cream: The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Get rid of hair for a lifetime through cream by applying the cream twice,” “Get rid of the hair on face, private parts, chest and waist just by applying the cream twice,” “100% Ayurvedic,” “No Itching, No Burning, No Spots, No Black Marks,” “You will only Benefit from the use if this cream, it has no harmful effects at all,” were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy. Further the claim, “Trusted by 6.5 Cr. Indians,” was not proven with supporting data or with any independent audit or verification certificate. Also, claims of efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the treatment are misleading.
  • Vardhan Ayurvedic Organisation: The advertisement’s claim (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Permanently cure joint pain at home itself without any operation,” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and is misleading by exaggeration.
  • Vee Care Marketing World Pvt. Ltd. (Vee Care Ayurveda Range of Products): The advertisement’s claims (in Hindi) as translated into English, “Reduce Sugar, otherwise get your money back.**,” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. Also, specific to the claims implying treatment for Diabetes, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.