Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Health-Related Decisions and Recommendations, April 2019


July 10, 2019

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 April 2019, the complaints that were upheld against health-related claims included:

    • Abhijay Hospital Private Limited — ARC International Fertility & Research Centre: The advertisement’s claim, “India’s leading Fertility Hospital.”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s hospital and other similar hospitals to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) than the rest in providing treatment for fertility, or through a third-party validation. “A complete solution For Fertility”, implies guaranteed cure for infertility, which was not substantiated with supporting evidence. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and implication.

 

    • Akash Naturopathy Clinic: The advertisement’s claim, “Successful treatment of paralysis”, was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and is misleading by gross exaggeration.

 

    • Apex Hospital: The advertisement claim, “Freedom from joint and spine related problem”, was not substantiated with supporting credible scientific/clinical evidence, and is misleading by gross exaggeration. The claim, “The only centre in Purvanchal with 10,000 replacement”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s hospital and other similar hospitals treating joints and spine problems in Purvanchal, to prove that they are the only hospital who have done 10,000 replacement surgeries, or a third party validation, and is misleading by exaggeration.

 

    • Apex Hospital: The advertisement claim, “Jeevan ki nayi aashaa har Cancer rogi ke liye” (New hope of life for every cancer patient) implies that the hospital is providing cure for Cancer, which is misleading by implication.

 

    • Bhatwal Surgical and Maternity Hospital: The advertisement claim, (in Marathi) “Bariatric surgerychya madatiney . . . Diabetes (madhumeh) saarkhyai aajharaachi aushadhey dekil bandh howoo shaktat” (“With the help of Bariatric surgery, medicines for disease such as diabetes can be stopped”), was inadequately substantiated with supporting clinical evidence and is misleading by omission, implication and exaggeration.

 

    • Dr. Kamthe Piles Clinic : The advertisement’s claim, “Only 1 hour treatment” was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence. The claim “India Book of Records of providing treatment on 208 patients in 11 hours”, was not substantiated with copy of the award certificates, criteria for granting the awards, references of the awards received such as the year, source, and details of the awarding body. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement. The claims are misleading by gross exaggeration and exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers (especially piles patients).

 

    • EUREKA FORBES LTD (Dr. Aquaguard NRICH range of ROs): The advertisement’s claim, “Optimum amount of Micronutrients” / “Balanced Copper in Every Drop” was unsubstantiated and misleading by implication. The product configuration is based on BIS Standards and not on RDA standards, therefore, claims are related to safety and not to nutrients. The claim “Get equivalent power of dry-fruits” was not adequately substantiated as the composition as well as the overall bioavailability and nutritional value of ROs and Dry Fruits products are not comparable. The claim “Equipped with most advanced Patented Technologies Active Copper Maxx, Biotron and Mineral Guard” was misleading by implication as the grant for the patent is still under process.

 

    • HAKH Research & Medical Foundation: The advertisement claims, (in Marathi) as translated in English, “Guarantee of complete protection from HIV as well as cure from HIV” and “Treatment can be stopped if HIV DNA-PCR report is negative”, were not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence and imply guaranteed cure for HIV which is misleading by gross exaggeration.

 

    • Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Indulekha Bringha Shampoo): It was concluded that Indulekha Bringha Hair Cleanser is not directly beneficial for hair growth like Indulekha Bringha oil. The advertisement called out benefits of Indulekha Oil and presented Indulekha Hair Cleanser as additional product. The Hair cleanser product depicting mnemonic of hair root identical to that shown on the oil product pack and claiming “prevents hair fall” was therefore considered to be misleading. The disclaimer in fine print at the back of the package stating `hair fall due to breakage’, was in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.

 

    • Homeopathy Care N Cure: The advertisement’s claim, “Complete solution on problems like Ovarian cyst, lump in breast or uterus, problem of migraine or depression, leucorrhoea, irregular or painful menstruation, problem of menopause through Homeopathic medicines is possible”, was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and is misleading by gross exaggeration. The word `Cure’ in the advertiser’s clinic name “Homeopathy Care N Cure”, is also misleading by implication.

 

    • Lotus Herbals Ltd (YouthRx Anti-Ageing transforming crème): The advertisement claim, “Contains Ground breaking Gineplex Youth Compound derived from potent natural ingredients that are clinically proven to accelerate lifting and firming”, and “The potent active ingredients include ginseng which activates cell metabolism and boosts collagen production and ginger which has more than 40 antioxidants and milk peptide” were not substantiated with technical details, composition of the product and evidence of product efficacy. The claims are misleading by exaggeration.

 

    • Meenakshi Mission hospital & research centre: The television advertisement’s claims (as translated to English), “Our Meenakshi Mission hospital, first laparoscopy treatment was done in world level”, “In 1993, world’s first laparoscopy treatment was done to remove lung and liver tumours” and “. . . . . .Always first, . . . . . .” were not substantiated with verifiable data such as comparison with other hospitals worldwide to prove that they were the first to perform laparoscopic surgery to remove lung and liver tumours, or any audited market survey data, or through a third-party validation.

 

    • PharmEasy: The advertisement claim, “100% Genuine Medicines” was not substantiated with any verifiable supporting data such as a list of registered FDA approved pharmacies who have tie-ups with the advertiser and how the advertiser ensures that all medicines supplied are 100% genuine.

 

    • Plattformno1.com (Baha Musk Melon Facial Massage Kit): The advertisement claim, (in Marathi) as translated to English, “Removes tanning, wrinkles” was not substantiated with product efficacy data, and is misleading by gross exaggeration. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.

 

    • Plattformno1.com (Orachic Gold Facial Kit): The advertisement claim, (in Marathi) as translated in English “Gives freedom from spots” was not substantiated with product efficacy data, and is misleading by exaggeration. The advertiser did not provide Copy of Product approval license / product label, and Product composition details.

 

    • Sagar Malik Ayurveda: The advertisement’s claim, (in Hindi) “12 saal purani reed ki haddi theek” (“Cured 12 year old spinal cord pain”), was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence, and with treatment efficacy data. The claim is misleading by gross exaggeration.

 

    • Sharanya Avenue (Know health- Summer weight loss 2019): The advertisement’s claim, “Up to 10kgs in one month with dietician Neha. . .!”, was not substantiated their treatment procedure for weight reduction nor did they provide evidence of their customers who achieved the claimed results of over 10 kg weight loss regardless of their physiological status with dietician Neha. Claim, “1000 plus satisfied clients” was not substantiated with supporting evidence of the clients who have been successfully treated at the advertiser’s clinic. Also the claim, “Top 3 Winner Awards” was not substantiated with copy of the award certificates, details of the criteria for granting the award, references of the award received such as the year, source and category, and details about the awarding body, and is misleading by omission of disclaimer to qualify the same.

 

    • Size Zero Slimming Centre: The advertisement claim, “Guaranteed Weight Loss”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. The visual in the advertisement implies a significant weight loss around tummy would be feasible, which is also grossly misleading. The claim, “Best and most Latest Therapy” was not substantiated with any evidence of the services available at the centre and basis for claiming them to the best or the latest. The claim is misleading by exaggeration.

 

    • United Breweries Ltd (Kingfisher Radler Bottle Artwork, Kingfisher Radler Lemon Can Artwork): The television advertisement’s claim, “100% natural”, is in violation of the FSSAI Notification dated 19th November 2018 (Schedule V), which refrains advertisers from using “natural” in the advertisement unless it meets certain criteria. As per the FSSAI Notification “Composite foods cannot be described directly or by implication as `natural’ but may be described as `made from natural ingredients’. Based on this observation, it was concluded that the claim, “100% Natural” for this composite beverage was misleading and is in contravention of the ASCI Code.

 

    • Vansh Clinic and Test Tube Baby Center: The advertisement claim, “Continuous successful results in the field of infertility for the past 16 years”. The advertiser did not explain what they mean by “continuous successful results” and did not provide details for the last 16 years. For their claim, “Women who had suffered miscarriages 4-10 times and had given up after taking treatment for 15-20 years, have also conceived”, the advertiser did not provide details or clinical evidence whether such results have been achieved on a consistent basis over a statistically significant number of patients meeting the stated criteria. The claims are misleading by ambiguity and implication.

 

  • Voltas Ltd. (Voltas Beko Refrigerator): The advertisement’s claim, “…tees din tak sabziyaan fresh rahengi”, (Vegetables will remain Fresh up to 30 days) was not substantiated, and is misleading by ambiguity, implication, and exaggeration. The disclaimer in the advertisement talks of `specific vegetables’ remaining fresh which is contradictory to the voiceover and main message conveyed of keeping vegetables’ fresh, implying that all vegetables will remain fresh. Additionally the disclaimers in the TVC were not in the same language as the audio of the TVC (Hindi) hence contravened ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.

The following advertisements were considered to be, prima facie, in violation of The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act / The Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, and are being referred to the Ministry of AYUSH:

 

Brand/Product

Claim/s

  • Nidan Sewa Sadan
  • Successful treatment of paralysis and nerve damage
  • Friends Clinic
  • Provide successful treatment of incurable disease, sciatica, stones etc”
  • Jharkhand Aushadhalay and Research Centre
  • Claims implying cure for Cancer, Kidney, gall bladder, heart diseases and paralysis.
  • ChiraYou Cardiac Care
  • “Heart Problem! Avoid heart attack/ by-pass/ stents.”
  • Dr. Pravin Patel’s Innovative Hospital & Research Center
  • Freedom from incurable cancer through super charge oxygen therapy.
  • There is no other treatment like Super Charge Oxygen Therapy, which frees patient from pain of cancer and by this therapy cancerous cells in the body get destroyed and patient gets rid of cancer.
  • You can get rid of any type of disease with cell therapy operation.
  • Ved Ayurveda
  • Makes married life happy
  • Successful treatment through Ayurveda – or small organ, Childlessness, lack of sexual desire
  • Shri Krishna Aushadhalay
  • To enjoy married Life take 100% safe masculine strength herbal course for 30 days
  • Shri Krishna Aushadhalay
  • Get permanent riddance from sugar through ayurvedic treatment.
  • Sciatica Fort Special
  • Tremendously effective in arthritis, paralysis.
  • 100% results guaranteed
  • Healthy Life Pharmaceuticals/ Jyome Slimmer Capsules
  • An ayurvedic medicine which increases masculine power without any side effect.
  • Vayo Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd./ Instalong
  • Redefine your manhood
  • From here to there in just three months.
  • ORO Herbal & Food Products/ Geetherb
  • Complete remedy for the men who do not have children.
  • A boon for the suffering childless couples.
  • Thousands of persons are blessed with children by ‘Geet Herb’.
  • Naaz India Company/ Farata Gold Capsule
  • To give full vigour and pleasure in love.
  • Chenjalyam Ayurvedic Range (Cream and Tablets)
  • Permanent solution for all sexual problems
  • Arogyam Ayurvedic Centre / Arogyam JR Sachet
  • To get rid from chronic pain of arthritis.
  • Angels Advanced Clinic Pvt. Ltd
  • For hair fall control & regrowth with proven results.”
  • “Get hair on bald head within one hour