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ASCI upholds complaints against 89 advertisements out of 162

Shweta Purandare
Shweta Purandare

In April 2018, ASCI’s Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) upheld complaints against 89 advertisements out of the total of 162 advertisements that were evaluated by the CCC.

Out of the total 89 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 24 belonged to the healthcare sector, 34 to the education sector, 20 to the food & beverages category,  two to the  personal care and nine were from the ‘others’ category. A total of 101 advertisements were picked up by ASCI’s suo moto surveillance, wherein 31 cases were informally resolved as advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn and objections against 68 advertisements were upheld. Of the 61 advertisements complained against by the general public or by industry members, 12 cases were informally resolved wherein the advertisements were voluntarily withdrawn and complaints against 21 advertisements were upheld by the CCC.

Exaggeration of product efficacy was the number one reason for upholding complaints. The other reasons included providing facts and figures which were inadequate to substantiate claims, exploiting consumers’ lack of knowledge, claims which were misleading by gross exaggeration and delivering advertisements which were misleading by ambiguity or by implication. This was followed by violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act) and the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Rules and advertisements which contravened various ASCI guidelines.

Among the various complaints against advertisements, the CCC observed that a popular smartphone company was found to unethically attract customers by claiming the biggest sale ever in the history of India. Several advertisements used logos of AYUSH or FSSAI in their communication which was considered to be inappropriate as all AYUSH products in the market are required to have approval from the State Licensing authorities, and calling it out separately as a claim is misleading by implication that Ministry of AYUSH or FSSAI has approved the product efficacy / claims made in the advertisement.

“ASCI’s work in monitoring Print and TV advertisements for AYUSH sector has also been recognized by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health & Family Welfare. The committee was of the view that collaborative efforts of the ministry, along with the DoCA, MIB and State Governments, have certainly given results as misleading advertisements with respect to AYUSH drugs which have been unregulated so far have been controlled to an extent. ASCI’s inclusion in the AYUSH’s empowered committee earlier this year is a reflection of regulators’ recognition of ASCI’s consistent efforts to curb misleading advertisements” said Ms. Shweta Purandare, ASCI Secretary General. 

HEALTHCARE: - Total of 24 advertisementscomplained against

  • Direct Complaints (Five advertisements complained against)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (19 advertisements complained against)

PERSONAL CARE: - Total of Two advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (Two advertisements complained against)

FOOD AND BEVERAGES: - Total of 20 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (Five advertisements complained against)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (15 advertisements complained against)

EDUCATION:- Total of  34 advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (Four advertisements complained against)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (30 advertisements complained against)

OTHERS:-  Total of Nine advertisements complained against

  • Direct Complaints (Five advertisements complained against)
  • Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (Four advertisements complained against)

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