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 Advertising Standards Authority 
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November 21st, 2008, 4:06 pm
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Sorry Alan :redface: reading through these posts again, I just realized you already did the one above you fool Alan C slaps own wrist.

Alan Ive borrowed a few of these adjudications to use in the debate I'm having on the Shetland forum, I've used links to the source at the ASA, rather than links to here, hope that's OK.

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November 21st, 2008, 9:00 pm
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Alan C. wrote:
slaps own wrist.
Aaahhh! You spoil all my fun!

Quote:
Alan Ive borrowed a few of these adjudications to use in the debate I'm having on the Shetland forum, I've used links to the source at the ASA, rather than links to here, hope that's OK.
Of course it is. I think I gave some advice from my, ahem, vast experience of winning adjudications...just doubt that the advertiser can supply scientific evidence to back up a claim.

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November 21st, 2008, 10:37 pm
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Doctor Kabra Lifeline Computerised Clinic & Research Centre An ad in Bengali on Bangla TV said "Do you suffer from Leucoderma, Eczema, Psoriasis or Allergy?" The ASA challenged: 1. Bangla TV had sought independent medical advice for a proper assessment of claims as required by rule 8.1.1; 2. the ad gave the impression of professional advice; 3. Dr Kabra provided a service that offered to prescribe or treat remotely; 4. evidence substantiated the claim that Dr Kabra could successfully treat Leucoderma, Eczema, Psoriasis or Allergy sufferers. All upheld.

IntraMed Ltd A direct mailing for VitaSvelt capsules was headlined "DROP UP TO 4 DRESS SIZES". It contained various claims for the efficacy of the product as a weight loss solution. Issues: 1. the efficacy claims for the product could be substantiated; 2. the advertisers could substantiate "the powerful action of negative calories"; 3. the claim "Vitasvelt contains the essence of 7 ½ lbs of fresh vegetables in a single super-slimming capsule" could be substantiated; 4. the claim "you eat, therefore you lose weight" was misleading and could be substantiated; 5. the claim "Will power plays no part in it and you do not have to deprive yourself of any of your favourite foods" was misleading and could be substantiated; 6. the claim "VitaSvelt has been officially approved by slimming professionals in more than 32 countries" was misleading and could be substantiated; 7. the claim "not only do you lose weight ... but you reinforce your immune system and smooth running of your metabolism" was misleading and could be substantiated; and 8. the claim "Is it true that no dieting is needed? It is even strongly advised against ... if you do not eat enough you will slim down less quickly than if you eat normally" was misleading and could be substantiated. In addition, the ASA challenged whether: 9. the mailing was irresponsible, and encouraged weight loss at a rate which was incompatible with good medical and nutritional practice; 10. the mailing was irresponsible, because it implied that the product could treat obesity; 11. the mailing was misleading, because it implied that the product was guaranteed to work; 12. the claim "YOU WILL NOT PUT ON WEIGHT AGAIN!" was misleading and could be substantiated; 13. whether the testimonials were genuine; and 14. whether the before and after pictures were genuine. All were upheld.

Action: We noted IntraMed had been subject to two previous ASA adjudications and were concerned that they had not demonstrated that they held evidence to support their advertised claims.

Khytan Trading A door-drop circular, The North London Phone Box, described as "your essential guide to local business and services" featured small ads from a number of companies offering local services. An ad on the back page of the circular stated "Who Else Wants To Discover A Rebel Psychiatrist's Amazing Secret That Lets You Put People Under Your Control Quickly & Easily ... And Get Them To Do Anything You Want?" "Anything You Want" was underlined. The complainant challenged whether: 1. the claims in the ad for the hypnotherapy service were irresponsible, and 2. the claims in the ad for the hypnotherapy service could be substantiated. Both upheld.

MATV (Punjabi) An ad in Bengali was shown on MATV and Zee TV. The presenter said "With their mysterious and amazing powers, Gems have a great influence on the mind, body and soul of a human who wears them. Issues: Monitoring staff challenged whether the Global Zodiac Rings and Pendants would have these effects on the wearer: 1. control anger, reduce stress, increase confidence and enhance decision-making abilities; 2. bring success, good fortune and happiness in the wearers personal and professional life; 3. protect from evil eyes, form a protective shield all around the wearer and not let negative energies affect the wearer; 4. increase the wearers power to attract others; 5. improve finances; 6. become more intellectual; 7. become better at organising. 8. Monitoring staff challenged whether the Global Zodiac Rings and Pendants had electrification effects, power and energy because they were placed under a pyramid and whether they were the most effective rings and pendants because they were made from five metals. 9. Monitoring staff challenged whether Anil Ambani, Amitab Bachan and Shri Atal Bihari Vajpee wore the Global Zodiac Rings and Pendants. All upheld.

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November 30th, 2008, 5:45 pm
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Some of today's adjudications:

AZ Homoeopathic Clinic An ad in Bengali, for AZ Homoeopathic Clinic, was broadcast on DM Digital TV. The ad showed shelves of bottles of medicine and vitamins. The voice-over said "Cures are in the hands of God. A to Z Homoeopathic Clinic provides natural remedies." Issue: Monitoring staff challenged whether: 1. the ad gave the impression of professional advice; 2. the homoeopathic medicinal products featured in the ad were registered in the UK.

This is interesting for several reasons: the first complaint was upheld because the advertiser appeared to be a medically qualified doctor (stethoscope, doctors consulting room, letters after his name) and this was deemed unacceptable. The second complaint (also upheld) was because most of his preparations were not registered in the UK, although they were not explicitly mentioned in the advert. To be legal, all preparations must be registered as part of the National Rules Scheme:
Quote:
********************************************************************************
Fees for Homoeopathic National Rules Scheme
http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Me ... /index.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The U.K introduced a new National Rules Scheme for homoeopathic medicinal products under Article 16.2 of Directive 2001/83, which started on 1 September 2006. Products are required to meet particular standards on safety, quality and patient information.

[Retrieved: Wed Dec 03 2008 13:20:38 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Of course, this registration says nothing about efficacy (but I doubt this is ever mentioned by quacks)!


Sandown Free Presbyterian Church A regional press ad, for Sandown Free Presbyterian Church, was headlined "THE WORD OF GOD AGAINST SODOMY". Issue: The ASA received seven complaints: 1. four complainants believed the ad's content was homophobic and, therefore, offensive and 2. six complainants believed the ad was likely to provoke hatred and violence against the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The first was upheld and the second not upheld because:
Quote:
We understood that the complainants were concerned because the ad called for an outdoor meeting to be held in protest of the act of sodomy and to voice disapproval of the Belfast Gay Pride parade on the same day as the parade was arranged; they believed this action could be read as an attempt to spread hatred and incite violence against supporters and members of the Pride movement and LBGT community.

While we appreciated the complainants' concern, we considered that the ad did not in itself incorporate language likely to incite a violent emotional response. We considered that it would be clear to readers that it represented the views of a specific group, which were not universally held, and would be deemed extreme by some. We acknowledged, therefore, that the ad conveyed an opinion that was controversial for some readers but concluded that it was unlikely to provoke hatred or violence against the LGBT community.

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December 3rd, 2008, 2:31 pm
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Some adjudications for 10 December 2008
Healthspan Group Ltd An email for vitamin and health supplements had the headline "Smart Savings. Hurry ... offer ends soon!". Below were images of various products with before and after prices. Text in a bubble underneath stated "Back to School!" alongside a pack shot of Omega 3 Fish Oil Brain Boosters. Text alongside the image stated "Don't forget the children... Brain Boosters. With your child or grandchild now back to school, give them the best possible chance to fulfil their potential by supplementing their diet with Omega 3. Ideal for children who dislike the taste of fish or have difficulty swallowing capsules, two delicious fruity Brain Boosters provide 180mg DHA and 120mg EPA for improved concentration and brain function". Issues: 1. One complainant challenged whether the claim that taking Brain Boosters would improve children's concentration and brain function was misleading, and could be substantiated. 2. The ASA challenged whether the name Brain Boosters implied that the product would improve brain function. Both upheld.

IntraMed Ltd A national press ad for a hearing amplifier had the headline "Boost your hearing... with this discreet device". Issues: 1. One complainant challenged whether the efficacy claims for the product were misleading and could be substantiated. The ASA challenged whether: 2. the claim "HearPlus has earned a reputation as the world's most effective and reliable hearing amplifier" was misleading and could be substantiated; 3. the claims "Boost your hearing", "You don't have to dream about good hearing ... because you can have it NOW!" and "HearPlus will improve your hearing like no other device" misleadingly implied that HearPlus could alleviate hearing loss and functioned as a hearing aid; and 4. the testimonials featured in the ad were genuine. All upheld.

Stirling Health Ltd A mail order catalogue, for Stirling Health, offered healthcare products, medical devices and books. 17 issues! Stirling Health did not respond, so all issues were upheld.

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December 10th, 2008, 1:54 pm
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From today's adjudications:

Stirling Health Ltd An internet sales promotion, for Stirling Health, was headed "Receive a FREE GIFT with every purchase". Below, text stated "Free gift with every purchase. Just for trying one of our products, you're entitled to a FREE newsletter, The Good Life Letter, it's packed with health tips ... PLUS - Order any 3 or more products and receive your FREE tub of JointEase Cream!! JointEase cream normally retails for £15.95 but is yours totally FREE when you order 3 or more fantastic products from Stirling Health. Our unique and highly effective topical JointEase Cream is guaranteed to reduce any pain and inflammation caused by arthritis whilst increasing circulation and stimulating flexibility and movement for general joint and muscular injuries". Issues: 1. A customer believed the promotion was misleading because he ordered three products but did not receive the JointEase free gift. 2. The ASA challenged whether the claim "... JointEase Cream is guaranteed to reduce any pain and inflammation caused by arthritis whilst increasing circulation and stimulating flexibility and movement for general joint and muscular injuries" was a medicinal claim for an unauthorised product.

Stirling Health did not respond, so they automatically lose.

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December 17th, 2008, 2:43 pm
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Today's adjudications

Direct Beauty Products Ltd A magazine ad, for LA Looks Body Wrap, was headed "Drop a dress size IN 1 Hour!* WITH LA LOOKS BODY WRAP". Issues: 1. One reader believed the ad was misleading, because the ad implied Vanessa Feltz and Gillian McKeith had tested the LA Looks Body Wrap, whereas she understood other makes had been tested. 2. Three readers challenged whether the before and after pictures were genuine. 3. The ASA challenged whether the before and after pictures exaggerated the likely efficacy of the product for inch loss. All upheld.

Estée Lauder Cosmetics Ltd A press ad, for a skin product, stated "NEW! TRI-AKTILINE Instant Deep Wrinkle Filler. Immediately: 68% of subjects reported a visible filling of wrinkles. After 4 weeks of continued use: 83% reported improvement in the appearance of lines. After 8 weeks of continued use: clinical studies measured a 45% visible reduction in wrinkle depth and length." Further text, underneath the image of a woman with lines around her eyes and mouth marked out, stated "Start to see your wrinkles disappear - INSTANTLY!". Issues: The complainant challenged whether: 1. the claim "Start to see your wrinkles disappear INSTANTLY!" could be substantiated, and 2. the claims "Immediately: 68% of subjects reported a visible filling of wrinkles. After 4 weeks of continued use: 83% reported improvement in the appearance of lines. After 8 weeks of continued use: clinical studies measured a 45% visible reduction in wrinkle depth and length" could be substantiated. Both upheld.

This has been mentioned in The Scotsman and Herald today. What is interesting is that the ASA commented on what level of proof of claims are required to be held by the advertiser. The full assessment is:
Quote:
Assessment
1. Upheld
The ASA took expert advice on the clinical evidence submitted in support of the claim. We understood from the expert that it constituted an open, non-randomised trial on 25 women, was not blinded, and did not include a control group. We understood that, although the imaging technique showed an effect on lines and wrinkles, it was not clear whether the same optical effect could be detected by a human observer. We noted the ad stated "Start to see your wrinkles disappear instantly" and considered that that claim implied the product could reduce the wrinkles themselves, not merely reduce the appearance of the wrinkles. We acknowledged Estée Lauder's assertion that the claim was also supported by a consumer evaluation study on 50 women, but were concerned that the full method and results of the consumer evaluation study were not submitted to the ASA as supporting evidence. We noted the question asked of the participants in the consumer study referred to the "filling in" of fine lines and wrinkles, not the disappearance of wrinkles. Furthermore, we considered that a consumer evaluation study was not sufficient to support a claim for the reduction of wrinkles per se. We concluded that the clinical study and excerpts from the consumer evaluation study were not sufficient to substantiate the claim and therefore that Estée Lauder had not justified it.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 50.1 and 50.7 (Health and beauty products and therapies).

2. Upheld
The ASA noted Estée Lauder's assertion that some of the supporting evidence for the claims was contained in the consumer evaluation study. However, we also noted the full method and results of that study were not submitted and considered, therefore, that the extracts provided did not constitute supporting evidence. We were also concerned that the claim on the pack shot visible in the ad was "4 weeks: 83% of subjects demonstrated improvement in the appearance of lines" and considered that that claim was confusing when shown in conjunction with the claim "After 4 weeks of continued use: 83% reported improvement in the appearance of lines", because the latter claim implied the 83% measure was a self-reported one, whereas the former implied an objective measure.

We took expert advice in relation to the clinical study and understood that, although the methodology was potentially sound, insufficient information was provided to validate that. We also understood that it was not possible to determine from the quantitative results whether or not the change would be observable by consumers or onlookers. We considered that readers would infer from the claim "Immediately: 68% of subjects reported a visible filling of wrinkles" that subjects in the trial had observed a difference in the visible appearance of their wrinkles immediately after applying the product. We noted Estée Lauder believed this claim was supported by the consumer evaluation study but considered that, in the absence of a complete copy of the study including full the methodology and results, they had not justified that claim.

We considered that readers would infer from the claim "After 4 weeks of continued use: 83% reported improvement in the appearance of lines. After 8 weeks of continued use: clinical studies measured a 45% visible reduction in wrinkle depth and length" that using Tri-Aktiline over a period of up to eight weeks would result in a cumulative reduction in the visible appearance of wrinkles. We were concerned that, although such claims required a high level of empirical proof, Estee Lauder had submitted only one study on 23 subjects with no reference to the control group and no evidence that the quantified results would be observable to the consumer or another onlooker. We considered that the study provided was inadequate to support claims of visible changes, and particularly quantified visible changes, in the appearance of wrinkles over time and concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 50.1 and 50.7 (Health and beauty products and therapies).
So, they made claims about how good their product was, they claimed clinical trials ('an open, non-randomised trial on 25 women, was not blinded, and did not include a control group'), and a 'customer satisfaction survey' as proof, but the ASA determined that it all did not add up and was insufficient proof of their claims.

Health Innovations Ltd A national press ad for a pain relief device was headed "The pocket-sized painkiller". The interesting issue is: 'the claim "Dr Iain Leith is an Orthopaedic Specialist" was misleading, because it implied Dr Leith was a medically qualified Doctor.'
Quote:
Health Innovations sent a copy of Dr Iain Leith's medical qualification confirming that he had qualified as a medical doctor in 1968. They sent a copy of his qualification from the London College of Osteopathic Medicine which confirmed he had qualified in Osteopathy in 1985.

Quote:
We accepted the evidence sent confirmed Dr Leith was a medically qualified doctor who was also qualified to practice Osteopathy. However, because the claim stated "Dr Iain Leith is an Orthopaedic Specialist", we considered it should be supported by evidence that showed Dr Leith had specialised in Orthopaedics. Because it was not, we concluded the claim was misleading.


Pinnacle Health Ltd A mail order catalogue, for Simply Supplements, titled "A Healthy Beat in Your Heart" included claims for a number of products: Co Enzyme Q10, Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, Feverfew, Echinacea and Omega 3. There were fourteen issues about these claims and all were upheld:
Quote:
1.-12. & 14. Upheld
The ASA noted Simply Supplements had been unable to provide evidence due to time constraints. We were concerned by this as marketers should hold documentary evidence to prove all claims before submitting a marketing communication for publication. We did not therefore consider that that was a satisfactory reason for failing to provide substantiation.

We noted Simply Supplements believed the claim about Co Enzyme Q10 could be substantiated but did not submit evidence of that or the other claims in the ad.

We considered that some of the claims being made were new or breakthrough claims, and in order to substantiate these and the other claims being made, Simply Supplements should have submitted a robust body of evidence, consisting of trials conducted on people, to show that the vitamins and supplements worked in the way described. In the absence of such evidence, we concluded that the claims were misleading.

On these points, the catalogue breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness), 50.1 (Health and beauty products and therapies - General), 50.20 and 50.21 (Vitamins, minerals and other food supplements).

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January 7th, 2009, 5:23 pm
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Did anybody else read A C Grayling in today's Guardian?
Probably a ridiculous caveat.

Quote:
Well: let us for a moment take the advertising standards code seriously. Parity requires that in all the many advertisements promoting religious belief on the buses and underground trains, "allegedly" be inserted into claims and statements that imply the existence of supernatural agencies. Now that the gauntlet has been thrown down on "probably" for the atheist buses, let us demand that "allegedly" appear in all advertisements promoting the opposite view. I shall be writing to Tim Bleakley (CBS Outdoor, Camden Wharf, 28 Jamestown Road, London NW1 7BY) and the Advertising Standards Authority on the subject today, and invite you all to do likewise.

Should we all write? Or is one complaint all that's needed for the ASA to look at it? Alan?

Edit.
I've just started reading the comments and this made me smile.
Quote:
Excellent stuff, Prof. But don't let's stop at adverts. We want caveats like "allegedly" every time god (or one of them) gets mentioned in schools too.

There was a collage pinned up in one of the corridors at the school here, titled "stories Jesus told" to which I added allegedly.
There was also a poster, designed and printed by a teacher I assume (unrelated to the above) that said the Earth was 4.5 million years old,which I corrected to 4.5 billion.
A lot of the teachers are very young, but that's no excuse :sad2:

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January 7th, 2009, 10:45 pm
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I've been busy!

Just submitted three complaints this evening to the ASA about adverts in the local free newspaper: one about an astrologer; one about colonic irrigation and one about an ayurvedic clinic. I reckon I'll win on most points, but I'm also testing where the boundary is between what is put as fact and what is the opinion of the advertiser (if it's opinion, you can say just about whatever you like!). The ASA have told me before about this, but I'm still not clear how they differentiate. Also, I want to find out whether they are willing to consider the overall tone of an advert (perhaps giving the impression they are getting proper medical advice), even though any claims are not specific.

I'll let you know what happens, but I complained about a different astrologer a few weeks ago and, although they wanted to deal with it informally (ie it won't appear as an adjudication on their website), they agreed with most of my complaints.

On a slightly separate subject, I've been working at getting a site that allows anyone to answer questions posed by others more responsible and scientifically accurate, particularly in their AltMed section. I don't want to say too much at the moment, but you can imagine what was being said! However, I'm making great progress in getting the site owners to think carefully about their rules. I'll post about this in a separate thread when I have more to say.

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January 17th, 2009, 12:08 am
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Catching up...

IntraMed Ltd A direct mailing, for an "organic silica gel" called Artrosilium, consisted of a letter, a document entitled "Networking Newsletter for Users of Artrosilium", another document entitled "The natural remedy for the relief of arthritis by Dr Anton Robinson" and a coupon to obtain a free sample of Artrosilium.

Issues: 1. Three complainants challenged whether IntraMed could substantiate the efficacy claims for Artrosilium, including that the product could be used to treat serious medical conditions; arthritis, prostate problems and Alzheimer's disease. The ASA challenged whether the: 2. ad made medicinal claims for an unauthorised product; 3. ad was irresponsible, because it might discourage recipients from seeking suitably qualified medical advice for serious medical conditions; 4. testimonials were genuine and could be supported with independent evidence of their accuracy and 5. ad misleadingly implied that the product was guaranteed to work.

Response
IntraMed asserted that the ad did not contain efficacy or medicinal claims but merely reported customer experiences. They said they always let consumers know if customers had good experiences with the product.

They confirmed that Artrosilium was not a licensed medicine but argued that it was natural and contained no dangerous or banned substances. They also said the benefits of silicon were well documented, and the product was manufactured to high standards and according to EU guidelines.

All upheld. If you're interested in how quacks try to make medical claims without making medical claims, read the whole adjudication.


Wellform Ltd A direct mailing for a slimming tablet had the headline "Making International headlines, 'A Revolutionary New Slimming Product'. Take 1 Tablet of SLIMSALL and Automatically Lose 2lbs. There were 12 concerns highlighted. The advertiser did not respond to the ASA, so they automatically lose.


All Nations Church A poster, for a church event, stated 'Are you ready for a miracle? LIVE at the ALL NATIONS CENTRE 23rd-25th October, 7.30 p.m. DON DOUBLE Healing Evangelist'. The claim "are you ready for a miracle" was surrounded by a number of serious medical conditions including blindness, HIV/AIDS, cancer, deafness, diabetes, asthma, paralysis, leukemia, stroke, heart disease, epilepsy, tumours and depression. Issues: The complainant challenged whether the poster: 1. was irresponsible and misleading because it implied that Don Double could heal the serious medical conditions listed and 2. discouraged people from seeking essential medical treatment for the listed conditions. Both upheld.


IntraMed Ltd A magazine ad, for the Ionic Bracelet, was headed "Get rid of aches and pains by wearing this incredible bracelet". Issue: A reader challenged whether: 1. the efficacy claims for the Ionic Bracelet could be substantiated, and 2. the testimonials were genuine. The ASA challenged whether: 3. the testimonials misleadingly implied efficacy, and 4. the ad was irresponsible, because it might discourage readers from seeking properly qualified medical advice about serious medical conditions such as depression, asthma and circulatory complaints. All upheld.


The Nutrition and Health Institute a. A national press ad was headed "THE ARTHRITIS SOCIETY - FREE Book plus FREE Supplement." Body copy stated "Why would The Arthritis Society give away a book that normally sells for £7.95 for FREE? Issues: claims that the ad is misleading and made medical claims. All upheld.


AMI Clinic Ltd A poster for AMI Clinic Ltd (AMI) stated in large, prominent lettering 'WANT LONGER LASTING SEX?' The word 'SEX' appeared in very large lettering. Smaller text stated 'NASAL DELIVERY TECHNOLOGY CALL THE DOCTORS AT ADVANCED MEDICAL INSTITUTE'. I'm not entirely sure what the actual product is, but the issues were: 1. 521 complainants believed the poster was offensive and, therefore, unsuitable for display in public locations, which included near schools and in areas with a high Jewish population, where it could be seen by children, and 2. The ASA challenged whether the poster advertised an unlicensed medicine. All upheld. It's interesting that there were so many complaints (521) and that they invoked the reason that is was near schools and an area 'with a high Jewish population'. I do have to wonder if this was an orchestrated complaint?

And the final one for now...I've included the whole text because it's interesting (in a nerdy sort of a way). In the UK...well, the adjudication explains it all.
Quote:
********************************************************************************
Woodvale Clinic
http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications ... _45779.htm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Woodvale Clinic
The Lodge
Toft Road
Knutsford
Cheshire
WA16 9SS
Number of complaints: 1

Date: 18 February 2009
Media: Magazine
Sector: Health and beauty

Ad
A magazine ad for Woodvale Clinic stated "DR JOHN W STOWELL L.D.S.R.C.S. (Eng) B.D.S. F.D.S R.C.S. (Edin) G.D.C. Registered Specialist in Surgical Dentistry and Oral Surgery". Text under the sub-heading "Dental and Facial Aesthetics" stated "Woodvale Clinic look forward to welcoming you for a comprehensive range of services to achieve an improved youthful and attractive appearance with the following treatments Whitening of teeth Bridges Dental Implants Crowns and veneers Facial fillers and Lip enhancements ... Associate Fellow of American Academy of Implant Dentistry ...".

Issue
The complainant challenged whether the reference to "Dr" misleadingly implied that the practitioner held a general medical qualification.
The CAP Code: 3.1;7.1

Response
Dental Protection (DP) responded on behalf of Woodvale Clinic. They believed the use of the title "Dr" in this context was not misleading, because it was clear from the ad that the practitioner was a General Dental Council (GDC) registered specialist in surgical dentistry and oral surgery.

DP explained that it was common practice in the UK and throughout the world for dentists to use the honorary title "Dr". They said this had not always been the case, however, but the position had changed over recent years and, with the enlargement of the European Community, dentists from Europe who were allowed to use the title in their home country were now free to work in the UK. DP believed, to disallow UK dentists from using the honorary title was, therefore, discriminatory.

They explained that the GDC had no objection to dentists using the title "Dr" and also that the title "Dr" was used by the British Dental Association (BDA) in written correspondence to its members and at all conferences and dentist meetings. DP appreciated that if members of the public were misled into believing dentists were medically qualified, this would be against public interest. They also believed, however, to deny the use of the title when others clearly used it, and its use was widespread around the world, was also against patients interest. They pointed out that a large number of medical practitioners did not have a doctoral MD or PhD qualification.

DP submitted several examples of dentist ads and literature in which the practitioner bore the title "Dr".

Assessment
THIS ADJUDICATION REPLACES THAT PUBLISHED ON 22 OCTOBER 2008. THE COMPLAINTS REMAINS UPHELD BUT THE WORDING HAS BEEN CHANGED.

Upheld
The ASA acknowledged DP's comments and understood their argument that the honorary title "Dr" was widely used. We also noted the ad clearly stated that the practitioner was a "Registered Specialist in Surgical Dentistry and Oral Surgery" and understood that, since 1995, the GDC had allowed dentists to use "Dr" as a courtesy title, providing they did not otherwise imply that they were qualified to carry out medical procedures.

We considered, however, that the title "Dr" before a practitioners name should not be used in ads unless the practitioner held a general medical qualification, a relevant PhD or doctorate (of sufficient length and intensity) or unless the similarities and differences between the practitioner's qualifications and medical qualifications were explained in detail in the ad. We noted from the list of qualifications included in the ad that the practitioner was not medically qualified and did not hold a relevant PhD or doctorate qualification. We also considered that the advertisement did not explain the differences between the practitioner's qualifications and medical qualifications.We concluded that the use of "Dr" in this ad could mislead.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation) and 7.1 (Truthfulness).

Action
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Woodvale Clinic not to use the title "Dr" in their ads, unless the practitioner was medically qualified or held a relevant PhD or doctorate qualification or unless the similarities and differences between the practitioner's qualifications and medical qualifications were explained in detail in the ad and advised them to seek a view from the CAP Copy Advice team before advertising again.

[Retrieved: Thu Feb 19 2009 00:55:35 GMT+0000 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Now just think of the number of quacks who use the title Dr?

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February 19th, 2009, 1:57 am
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Alan C. wrote:
Did anybody else read A C Grayling in today's Guardian?
Probably a ridiculous caveat.

Thanks, Alan. Well worth a read. I enjoyed this comment:

Quote:
God doesn't exist anymore. He just left the lights on to confuse the burglars


:laughter:


February 19th, 2009, 10:34 am
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Quote:
Alan H
Now just think of the number of quacks who use the title Dr?

There are at least two here that aren't registered with the GMC, I complained about them in November but still haven't heard anything. :sad:

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February 19th, 2009, 12:43 pm
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The Pure H20 Company Ltd Two ads for a household water purification system. Issues: 1. The first complainant, a health professional, challenged whether The Pure H2O Company could substantiate the claim in the magazine ad that the RODI water purifier was clinically proven to reduce LDL cholesterol. The second complainant, a member of the public, challenged several claims made. All upheld.

Wigan Family Chiropractic Clinic A magazine ad, for the Wigan Family Chiropractic Clinic, was headed "ASK your chiropractor ... This month our spotlight is on low back and neck pain. Issues: A chartered physiotherapist challenged whether: 1. the claim "Chiropractic is quite simply the best way to treat most spinal problems causing neck and back pain" could be substantiated; 2. the claim "Only a Doctor of Chiropractic is trained and qualified to give an adjustment" could be substantiated; and 3. the references to "Doctors" and "Dr" implied that the chiropractors were medically qualified. The ASA challenged whether: 4. the testimonials misleadingly implied chiropractic had been proven to be effective for treating whiplash and chronic pain. All upheld.

Platinum Dance Studio A poster for a dance studio showed a woman, from the waist up, leaning against a wall. She was naked and her hair and body were wet. Text next to the woman stated "COME WORSHIP ME http://www.comeworshipme.com 0191 XXX XXXX". Issues: 1. Five complainants challenged whether the poster was offensive and unsuitable for display where it might be seen by children. 2. Ten complainants challenged whether the phrase "COME WORSHIP ME" alongside the naked woman was particularly offensive to Christians. Neither upheld.

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Alan Henness

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February 25th, 2009, 2:10 pm
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Chris Howe An advertorial in the local press promoted the services provided by a "healer". Issues: 1. was irresponsible and misleading because it implied that Chris Howe could heal the serious medical conditions listed, and 2. discouraged people from seeking essential medical treatment for the listed conditions.

Both upheld.

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Alan Henness

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May 6th, 2009, 6:09 pm
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Mirjam Wigman A regional press ad, for a therapy, stated "BI-AURA THERAPY Practitioner ... This non-invasive therapy works on the body's energy field by correcting imbalances. With the energy flow restored, the body can start healing itself. Some of the conditions that have responded favourably: allergies, arthritis, asthma, back problems, depression, fatigue, insomnia, ME and stress-related conditions". Issues: 1. The complainant challenged whether the Mirjam Wigman could substantiate the efficacy claims for the treatment. 2. The ASA challenged whether the ad was likely to discourage readers from seeking suitably qualified medical treatment for serious medical conditions such as depression and ME.

Both upheld.

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Alan Henness

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May 6th, 2009, 6:24 pm
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I've just won another ASA adjudication and I've written about it on my blog:

Another ASA win against quackery

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July 22nd, 2009, 12:31 am
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Blogging: Taking Osteopathy in Hand

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July 26th, 2009, 1:22 am
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Hello Alan
Your post about this osteopath made me feel me very uncomfortable indeed. Infact I am upset and annoyed about it. What next dermatology?
Do you think this is maybe turning into a bit of a witch hunt? I do.
Aren't you possibly using the ASA the same way as the BCA are using our flawed libel laws?

There is a lot of woo and quackery out there. Yes - way too much. I am fighting hard against it from within. Not an easy thing for me personally - but so be it. I want to see it debated and challenged. But not in a climate of fear and retribution. I do not feel that your complaint to the ASA about this osteopath is going to help me in my battles. It will just create even more entrenched views and draw lines between people where none exists.

Why don't you focus on the nutters first? They are lined up waiting for skeptics to have a shot at them. Why take a shot at this osteopath? The osteopaths I know wholeheatedly support the battle against delusional thinking and quackery. They work from a medical / scientific basis.

I intend to practice as a medical herbalist. I will not invoke any supernatural powers or superstitions to explain how herbs work. I will not claim herbs can treat everything or are a panacea. I won't claim to cure cancer or autoimmune disease. I don't hold with ridiculous concepts like vitalism and energetics which have no basis in science. I only use medical textbooks to study and refuse to countenance anything that isn't back up by good evidence. I take a balanced skeptical view of herbal medicine. I see herbal medicines as an adjunct to biomedicine not a replacement. I hope to make a living from herbal medicine. No way near what GP makes but enough to get by.

Are you going to attack me when I set up in practice? From where I sit today, I'd say that you are.

I fear that if skeptics start attacking respected professions, like osteopathy, for what I can see is a pretty innocuous advert, then it wlll be very difficult for any reasonable person to do or say anything.
Please reconsider your complaint.

Lily


July 26th, 2009, 8:26 am
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Hello Lily

Lemonade Lily wrote:
Are you going to attack me when I set up in practice? From where I sit today, I'd say that you are.

I think the answer to that will depend on whether you make false or misleading claims in your promotional material. In your previous paragraph you say that you will not claim to treat conditions that you cannot treat yet the advertisement Alan has complained of does exactly that.

You say the osteopaths you know work from a medical scientific/basis. How so?

According to Ernst & Singh, the evidence for osteopathy is that it is no better or worse than conventional medicine for treating muscular skeletal conditionals (in other words, it is largely ineffective for back pain) and that several clinical trials demonstrate a failure to be effective for non muscular skeletal conditions such as migraine.

The British Institute of Osteopathy's website promotes "traditional osteopathic practice as first disseminated by Andrew Taylor Still in June 1874 and his followers" and offers this defintion:

Quote:
Osteopathy is a system, or science, of healing that uses the natural resources of the body in the corrective field:

* for the adjustment of structural conditions
* to stimulate the preparation and distribution of the fluids and free forces of the body; and
* to promote cooperation and harmony inside the body as a mechanism.

(snip)

'The body is its own commissariat, taking in material substance in the form of the proximate principles, such as water and oxygen. Nothing is assimilated to the body that is not first vitalised and every process that takes place in the body is a vital process; every lesion that we find in the body is a vital lesion in relation the vitality of life, of the patient. This implies that every part of the body is supplied with blood and nerve force, a dual activity that is used continually as corrective means in osteopathic practice.


Lemonade Lily wrote:
Why don't you focus on the nutters first? They are lined up waiting for skeptics to have a shot at them. Why take a shot at this osteopath?

As you say, there is a lot of woo and quackery out there. I am curious as to why you would exclude osteopaths from this definition. The fact that osteopaths - like chiroquacks - have achieved a degree of incorporation into mainstream medicine, especially in the US, seems to me a reason why it is more important to go after those of them who make unsupportable claims than it is to worry about the more demonstrably ridiculous therapies like ear candling, which aren't so widely supported. However, in defence of Alan, he complains to the ASA about every false claim he comes across, whoever makes it and has been doing so for many years.

Calling it a witch-hunt seems strangely appropriate given the appeals to the supernatural that these therapies - including osteopathy - appear to depend on. I'm all for hunting witches myself and don't understand why it's perceived as wrong to do so.


July 26th, 2009, 11:27 am
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