A teleshopping presentation for the Opatra Pro Light Machine, seen on 1 May 2023 on 5USA, featured a TJC presenter who demonstrated the product and an Optra brand ambassador. During the presentation a number of claims were made regarding the device’s capacity to treat medical conditions including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis as well as skin inflammation, rosacea and melasma that included “it helps inflammation, things like tennis elbow, Carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis” and “customers out there who may be suffering with osteoarthritis or osteoporosis […] it can help actually to strengthen your bones”.
The complainant challenged whether the medical claims breached the Code.
Shop TJC Ltd said they were investigating whether the claims had been taken from information provided by the product manufacturer and had suspended promotion of the product. They stated they would not repeat the claims in any future presentations of the product, and had spoken to the presenter and the product manufacturer about the complaint. They said they would be commencing a training programme for their staff in relation to their responsibilities under the BCAP Code, as well as reminding product suppliers of their responsibilities in relation to compliance and the accuracy of product claims.
The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) required that a medical device was registered with them before it was placed on the market in Great Britain. The ASA understood that the product was not registered with the MHRA as a medical device.
The BCAP Code stated that teleshopping presentations for medical treatments for humans or animals were not acceptable. We considered that within the context of the ad as a whole, viewers were likely to understand the claims that were made throughout the presentation to mean that the product could be used to treat and alleviate various medical conditions in humans. Those claims included, but were not limited to, “it helps inflammation, things like tennis elbow, Carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis” and “customers out there who may be suffering with osteoarthritis or osteoporosis […] it can help actually to strengthen your bones”. We therefore considered the ad breached the Code on that basis.
In addition, the Code required that medicinal or medical claims and indications were made only for a medicinal product that was licensed by the MHRA, the VMD or under the auspices of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or for a medical device with the applicable conformity marking. We considered the claims set out above were medical claims which therefore required that the product met the requirements for medical devices. However, as above, we understood the product was not registered with the MHRA, nor have we seen any evidence to demonstrate the product was a medical device with the applicable conformity marking. Notwithstanding that the ad breached the Code by being a teleshopping presentation for medical treatments for humans, we therefore considered no medical claims could be made for the product, and the ad also breached the Code on that basis.
For those reasons, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.3 (Compliance), and 11.4 and 11.12.3 (Medical devices).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Shop TJC Ltd to ensure teleshopping ads did not promote products or services that were medical treatments for humans, and not to make medical claims for products that did not have the applicable conformity marking and were not licensed by the MHRA.