A product listing for a B12 vitamin injection kit was seen on www.etsy.com on 19 May 2023. The listing featured an image of the product and text in the description stated “B12 Vitamin 10 ampules Cyanocobalamin 1000mcg/1ml, kit included. Syringes, needles, alcohol swabs included”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad breached the Code because it advertised a prescription-only medicine (POM) to the public.
OrganicSupplies GB said they did not sell or advertise injectable items but that they sold B12 vitamins previously for cosmetic purposes. They pointed out that the word ‘injection’ was not used in the ad and that products advertised as skin swabs, syringes and needles were commonly used in the aesthetic industry for mesotherapy and microneedling. They said they would ensure that future ads would comply with the Code.
Etsy said they had removed the product listing from their website.
The CAP Code stated that POMs or prescription-only medical treatments must not be advertised to the public.
The ASA understood that all licensed forms of injectable vitamin B12 were POMs.
The ad stated, “Syringes, needles and alcohol swabs included,” which indicated the vitamin B12 product referred to in the ad was administered via injection. The image of the product included the word “Injektopas” on the individual vials and the ad referred to “ampules”, which we considered also indicated the product being advertised was an injectable form of vitamin B12 for consumers to purchase and use at home. We therefore considered that the ad promoted a POM to the general public and concluded that it breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 12.12 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told OrganicSupplies GB not to advertise prescription-only medicines to the public in future.