An Enforcement Notice not to be sniffed at – Kenalog injections

Its arrival is welcomed by most but for those who suffer with hay fever, summer is synonymous with streaming noses, itchy eyes, and constant sneezing.

It has come to our attention that Kenalog, a steroid injection, is being offered by a number of beauty and aesthetic clinics to treat hay fever and advertised widely on their websites and social media platforms.

Kenalog is a prescription-only medicine (POM) and under Rule 12.12 of the Code, cannot be advertised to the public. Further, it is not licensed in the UK for the treatment of hay fever.

Following the publication of several ASA rulings, today we published a new Enforcement Notice, joint-branded with the MHRA, about the advertising of Kenalog injections.

What has the ASA ruled?

The ASA has taken a firm line on ads that promote Kenalog injections to the public, ruling against social media posts containing direct references to Kenalog injections and featuring images of a Kenalog box and vials, and indirect references to Kenalog such as “allergy jab” and “#hayfeverinjection” .

The ASA also found that an ad which stated “book your consultation”, alongside a reference to a “hay fever injection” had a clear implication that the consultation would result in the consumer being prescribed Kenalog.

What should advertisers do?

In summary, when promoting services they offer for the treatment of hay fever on social media, advertisers must remove direct references to Kenalog in the text of a post, as well as in images and hashtags. Indirect references such as “hay fever injection” and “hay fever jab” will be considered by the ASA to have the same effect as promoting Kenalog and should be avoided. Remember this applies to the use of emojis (i.e., syringe emojis), company or social media account names, testimonials, and memes.

Similarly, when promoting consultations for the treatment of hay fever, care should be taken to ensure that Kenalog is neither directly nor indirectly advertised.

What next?

From Monday 29 August 2022, the Compliance team will take targeted enforcement action using our monitoring technology to remove non-compliant ads and help ensure a level-playing-field.

If you would like advice about a specific ad, CAP has a range of services to help you stick to the rules, including free bespoke Copy Advice. Please visit our website for more details.

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