Background

 Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were invested, both were Upheld.

Ad description

Two magazine ads, appearing in the publication What Doctors Don't Tell You.

Ad (a) stated "COMRA - THERAPY IS THE LATEST TOWARDS HOLISTIC, MEDICAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY".  Further text stated, under the subheading "Medicine" stated, "The Delta Laser is already being used by doctors, therapists and patients themselves around the world in treating such varying conditions as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, injuries and many others".  Under the subheading "Sports and Physiotherapy" the ad stated "The Delta Laser is ideally suited for treating sports injuries and speeding up recover and reducing pain, as well as assisting therapists in helping those with long-standing chronic conditions".  The ad also featured testimonials.  Contact information at the bottom of the ad stated "Visit www.coMra-Therapy.co.uk or contact oliver@radiant-life-technologies.com  - 07985 340944".
 
Ad (b) was also headed "COMRA-THERAPY".  It stated, "FREE YOURSELF FROM THE ALLOPATHIC MEDICAL SYSTEM! We believe that the power to heal belongs in your hands! Not in the hands of a corrupt system.  We believe in freedom! Treatments for Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Autoimmune, Blood, Bones, Cystitis, Dental, Diabetes, Eczema, Glands, Immune System, Injuries, Ischemia, Joints, Kidneys, Mastitis, Muscles, Neurology, Organs, Osteoporosis, Skin, Stress, Strokes and many more". Further text stated, "Visit www.coMra-Therapy.co.uk Tel 07985 340944 Email oliver@radiant-life-technologies.com"

Issue

The Nightingale Collaboration challenged whether:

1. the efficacy claims in ads (a) and (b) could be substantiated; and

2. the testimonials in ad (a) were genuine and gave an accurate impression of the product's capabilities.

Response

Radiant Life Technologies said they could substantiate the testimonials to any competent authority should the need arise.  However, they declined to supply a substantive response to the ASA's enquiries.

Assessment

The ASA was concerned by Radiant Life Technologies' lack of a substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code.  

1. Upheld

Ads (a) and (b) made numerous efficacy claims that the product could be used to treat a range of conditions including, "arthritis", "multiple sclerosis", "fibromyalgia", "sports injuries", "long-standing chronic conditions", "Allergies", "Asthma", "Autoimmune", "Cystitis", "Diabetes", "Eczema", "Ischemia", "Mastitis", "Osteoporosis", "Stress", "Strokes".  Claims were also made that the product could provide treatments for: "Skin"; "Organs"; "Neurology"; "Muscles"; "Joints"; "Kidneys"; "Glands"; "Dental"; "Bones"; "Blood"; "Immune System"; "skin rejuvenation" and "hair".

In the absence of any evidence to support these claims we concluded that they were unsubstantiated and therefore in breach of the Code.  The references to providing treatment for arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke also breached the Code because they discouraged essential medical treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.  

On this point ads (a) and (b) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  (Misleading advertising),  3.7 3.7 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.  (Substantiation),  12.1 12.1 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.
   12.2 12.2 Marketers must not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. For example, they must not offer specific advice on, diagnosis of or treatment for such conditions unless that advice, diagnosis or treatment is conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional. Accurate and responsible general information about such conditions may, however, be offered (see rule  12.1 12.1 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.
 ).
Health professionals will be deemed suitably qualified only if they can provide suitable credentials, for example, evidence of: relevant professional expertise or qualifications; systems for regular review of members' skills and competencies and suitable professional indemnity insurance covering all services provided; accreditation by a professional or regulatory body that has systems for dealing with complaints and taking disciplinary action and has registration based on minimum standards for training and qualifications.
 and  12.6 12.6 Marketers should not falsely claim that a product is able to cure illness, dysfunction or malformations.  (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).

2. Upheld

In the absence of any evidence that the testimonials in ad (a) were genuine, or provided an accurate impression of the product's capabilities, we concluded that the ad had breached the Code.

On this point ad (a) breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules  3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  (Misleading advertising),  3.7 3.7 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.  (Substantiation),  3.45 3.45 Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it.  and  3.47 3.47 Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in a testimonial must not mislead or be likely to mislead the consumer.  (Endorsements and testimonials).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

12.1     12.2     12.6     3.1     3.45     3.47     3.7    


More on