The website for the Belgravia Centre, www.belgraviacentre.com, stated "The primary hair loss treatments that form the core of most of Belgravia 's hair loss treatment programmes are medically proven to prevent hair loss and regrow hair and most men who use our treatment combinations will achieve this goal ... How We Prevent Hair Loss and Regrow Hair for Most Men - Firstly, it is important that you know exactly why genetic male pattern hair loss takes place - There are enzymes in men and women who are genetically predisposed to hair loss ..."
The complainant challenged whether the advertiser’s claim to "Prevent Hair Loss and Regrow Hair for Most Men" was misleading and could be substantiated.
The Belgravia Centre said that the website page referred directly to the "primary treatments". They said those treatments were Finasteride and Minoxidil, which were two clinically proven, licensed treatments for hair loss, and the HairMax LaserComb, for which they also believed there was clinical evidence for hair loss prevention and regrowth. Because of that, they considered that the claim "Prevent hair loss and regrow hair for most men," which they said referred only to men who used their treatment courses and which they said was made about those products, was factually correct.
The ASA noted that Finasteride and Minoxidil were licensed treatments for hair loss and that clinical trials had demonstrated both to be effective in improving hair growth, with the best effects obtained if they were used at the earliest possible stage of hair loss. We noted that a previous ASA adjudication, Health Innovations, published in January 2012, had found that the LaserComb had been clinically proven to promote hair growth but that the evidence did not suggest that the improvement was significant to the user in those cases. We considered that the wording of the Belgravia Centre's claims, "the primary hair loss treatments that form the core of most of Belgravia's hair loss treatment programmes are medically proven to prevent hair loss and regrow hair and most men who use our treatment combinations will achieve this goal", went beyond the claims the ASA had previously accepted and suggested that hair loss would be prevented and hair would regrow in most men if they used Belgravia's programmes. We considered the Belgravia Centre therefore needed to hold evidence for that. Furthermore, while we accepted that Finasteride and Minoxidil were effective treatments for hair loss, we considered that advertisers needed to hold additional evidence if they wanted to claim that effective treatment was achieved through their programmes rather than the use of Finasteride or Minoxidil alone. We considered that the references to "the primary hair loss treatments that form the core of most of Belgravia's hair loss treatment programmes" and "our treatment combinations" suggested that Belgravia could use treatments or methods in addition to the authorised treatments of Finasteride or Minoxidil. Because Belgravia had not supplied evidence that hair loss would be prevented and hair would regrow in most men if they used their treatment programmes, or evidence for efficacy claims for treatments or methods in addition to Finasteride or Minoxidil, we concluded that the Belgravia Centre had not substantiated the claim and that it was misleading.
The claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) Code rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.
Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product.
Objective claims must be backed by evidence, if relevant consisting of trials conducted on people. Substantiation will be assessed on the basis of the available scientific knowledge.
Medicinal or medical claims and indications may be made for a medicinal product that is licensed by the MHRA, VMD or under the auspices of the EMA, or for a CE-marked medical device. A medicinal claim is a claim that a product or its constituent(s) can be used with a view to making a medical diagnosis or can treat or prevent disease, including an injury, ailment or adverse condition, whether of body or mind, in human beings.
Secondary medicinal claims made for cosmetic products as defined in the appropriate European legislation must be backed by evidence. These are limited to any preventative action of the product and may not include claims to treat disease. (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products) and 12.23 12.23 Marketers must be able to provide scientific evidence, if relevant consisting of trials conducted on people, for any claim that their product or therapy can prevent baldness or slow it down, arrest or reverse hair loss, stimulate or improve hair growth, nourish hair roots, strengthen the hair or improve its health as distinct from its appearance. (Hair and scalp).
The ad must not appear again in its current form.