ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Foxglove Clinic
1 Globe Crescent
25 February 2004
Health and beauty
Objection to a regional press advertisement for slimming pills. The advertisement stated "OVERWEIGHT? LOSE 5lb-7lb per week without effort, safely. Medical slimming pills, free information pack tel Jim ...".
1. The complainant objected that the quoted weight loss of 5lb-7lb a week was dangerous and not in line with sound nutritional advice.
2. The Authority challenged whether the advertisers were selling "medical slimming pills" as claimed.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers asserted that they had not requested the wording used in the advertisement and it was no longer in use.
1. Complaint upheld
The advertisers said a major campaign by the Government was underway to reduce obesity. They maintained the claim "you may lose 5lbs-7lbs in a week" was reasonable advice because obesity was life threatening and led directly to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. The advertisers said they provided strict safeguards for their clients as well as nutritional advice but did not send evidence to support that. The Authority considered that to claim a weight loss of 5-7lbs per week was contrary to good medical advice. It was concerned that the advertisers had not sent evidence of trials to show the efficacy of their product. It reminded the advertisers that marketing communications should not state that precise amounts of weight could be lost within a stated period and in order to advertise treatment for obesity they should hold evidence that they provide suitably qualified supervision. The Authority told the advertisers not to use the claim again.
The advertisers said they had not placed an advertisement for a prescription only medicine but acknowledged the advertisement contained small errors, which they had amended. They said non-prescription medicines were frequently tested clinically. The Authority was concerned that the advertisers had not sent evidence to support the claim ''medical slimming pills''. It reminded the advertisers that medicinal claims should not be made for products unauthorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The Authority told the advertisers to seek help from the Committee of Advertising Practice Copy Advice team before advertising again.