ASA Adjudication on The Wellness Tree Ltd
The Wellness Tree Ltd t/a
2 March 2011
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
A leaflet, for the Quantumwave Laser, included a number of efficacy claims for Frequency Medicine and the Quantumwave Laser.
A consumer challenged whether:
1. the efficacy claims for the Quantumwave Laser to treat or heal a wide range of illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS and leukaemia, could be substantiated;
2. the leaflet falsely claimed that the Quantumwave Laser was able to cure illness,
3. the leaflet discouraged essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
The Wellness Tree (Wellness) said the leaflet was designed to be informative and included the history of Cold Laser Therapy, but there was no intention to be misleading or contain false or unproven claims about the use of the lasers. They explained that they sourced the material from the internet and compiled the leaflet themselves. They said, on reflection, the leaflet could have been taken out of context and there should have been more checks made before it went to print. Wellness said they would no longer distribute the leaflet and had engaged an advertising agent and legal advisor to ensure that all their advertising material complied with the CAP Code in future.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA noted, although some of the references were historical, the leaflet made claims about both the efficacy of Cold Laser Therapy and the efficacy of the Quantumwave Laser itself, claims which we considered were capable of objective substantiation. We noted the leaflet claimed that the Laser was able to cure illnesses, but we also noted we had seen no evidence to support such claims.
Although we welcomed Wellness assurance that they had withdrawn the leaflet, because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated that the Laser would treat or heal illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS, mental disease or leukaemia, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and the leaflet was therefore misleading on both points.
On these points, the leaflet breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), and 12.1, 12.6 and 12.7 (Medicines, Medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
We were concerned that the leaflet claimed that the Laser could treat or cure illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, mental health issues, genetic diseases and leukaemia, all of which were serious illnesses for which medical supervision should be sought. Because we considered that the claims could discourage readers from seeking essential treatment for those conditions, we therefore concluded that the leaflet was irresponsible.
On this point, the leaflet breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 12.2 (Medicines, Medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
The leaflet must not appear again in its current form. We urged Wellness Tree to seek guidance from the CAP Copy Advice team when preparing future ads.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)