ASA Adjudication on Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd
Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd
11 August 2010
Number of complaints:
McCann-Erickson Advertising Ltd
A TV ad for a blood pressure monitor showed a row of three heart shaped balloons and the balloon in the middle was shown to be expanding. The voice-over stated "If you're among the one in three adults with high blood pressure, you're at risk of heart disease and strokes". The ad showed a woman in a pharmacy being helped by an assistant to buy the product while the voice-over continued "But you can help control it by keeping a regular check on it with one of these accurate easy to use monitors, now only half price. For heart health we're your pharmacy, we're Lloyds pharmacy".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "But you can help control it by keeping a regular check of it at home" was misleading because she understood the product could only monitor blood pressure, not help to control it.
BCAP TV Code
Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd (Lloyds Pharmacy) said they worked closely with the Department of Health, its associate bodies and the British Hypertension Society, to help raise awareness of the importance of knowing blood pressure (BP) levels. They said the term "help control" had partly been used in the ad as a result of an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) which analysed 18 previously existing randomised trials on patients with essential hypertension and compared a group of patients who had been allocated a home BP monitor against a similar sized group of patients with the same condition whose BP was monitored within the healthcare system. They stated that the article concluded that successful treatment targets were higher in test groups who had participated in home self-monitoring.
They said that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) also issued clinical guidelines on Hypertension which included a section which examined self-monitoring BP devices and concluded that home monitoring allowed patients to assess themselves regularly and that this may lead to increased compliance with treatment and a decrease in unnecessary treatment.
Lloyds Pharmacy said the ad did not suggest that patients or consumers would totally control their blood pressure by monitoring it, but stated that using it could help to control it by providing patients with more knowledge and subsequently more understanding of their condition, resulting in increased levels of appropriate treatment. They also stated that the ad did not in any way suggest that consumers should not speak to a GP or healthcare professional and that as part of the Healthy Heart campaign, Lloyds Pharmacy encouraged consumers to come into their stores for a free BP test.
Clearcast said the ad did not state that the device controlled BP but that it helped to control it. They said they approved the ad because they accepted that by learning about their BP, patients could take the first step in controlling it.
The ASA noted the ad referred to monitoring and controlling BP and considered that viewers would not infer from it that the device was suitable for self-diagnosis or control of a medical condition. We considered that most viewers would interpret the phrase "But, you can help to control it by keeping a regular check on it at home" as a claim that the product could help to monitor BP levels and that users could then seek the appropriate medical advice on ways on which to control BP if they believed it necessary. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1.1 (Misleading advertising). 5.2.2 (Implications) and 8.2.6 (Conditions requiring medical attention) but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)