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ASCI upheld complaints against229 advertisements of 270 advertisements of which over 100 pertained to advertiser’s websites violating DMR Regulations

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MUMBAI: During the month of March 2019, ASCI examined complaints against 344advertisements,advertisers ensured prompt corrective action for 74advertisements once they received the complaints from ASCI. ASCI’s Independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 229 advertisements out of 270advertisements evaluated by them. Of these 229advertisements, 123belonged to the healthcare sector,83to the education sector,  sevento the food & beverages sector,twoto personal care, and 14were from the ‘others’ category.

The largest number of complaints were evaluated in the healthcare sector with over 100 advertisements being considered to be in potential violation of the Drugs & Magic Remedies (DMR) Regulations. Majority of these advertisements were on the advertisers’ web-sites promoting products for enhancement of male sexual desire, male sexual performance, female breast enhancement, cancer cure, cure for arthritis, infertility etc. There were several advertisements pertaining clinics and hospitals making unsubstantiated and superlative claims. 

In one instance, the advertiser claimed to hold a Limca Book of record for performing thehighest number of surgeries in a certain span of time. The claims were inadequately substantiatedand were misleading by exaggeration. Another clinic claimed to cure piles in a single dose whereas another proclaimed itself to be the best sexologist in India. 

Mr D Shivakumar,Chairman, ASCI said, “ASCI and Ministry of AYUSH have concluded their secondyear of collaboration in March 2019. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ASCI was given a mandate for comprehensive Suo Motu surveillance of potentially misleading advertisements in the AYUSH sector and to keep a tab on print and electronic advertisements related to treatments with Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy medicines and potential violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. Over the two years, under the MoU with Ministry of AYUSH, ASCI has looked into over 1200 advertisements of the AYUSH sector.It is important to take cognizance of the growing influence of Digital Media on consumers and the misleading advertisements through various web-sites exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge. As per our data, while there has been a significant decrease in the incidence of misleading advertisements as awareness of the AYUSH-ASCI collaboration is increasing, the joint efforts need to be sustained to effectively curb objectionable advertisements. 

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