Hyderabad: Fifty-one of the 114 advertisements that have been banned by the Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) are for products in the healthcare sector.
Doctors say that it is very easy to mislead consumers by advertising products and medication claiming to have desirable outcomes such as weight loss or a reversal of balding.
Consumers also fall prey to advertisements for fairness products, the claims of which the CCC deems to be “grossly exaggerated”.
Dr Priyanka Nair, a city-based dermatologist said, “Many customers say that they feel a change after using fairness creams for a short while, but that is actually because of the thought that is planted into their minds by the advertisements. Fairness can only be increased by up to 20 per cent. What the cream actually does is protect your skin from sun’s rays and reduce your tan. So it is actually just restoring your natural colour.”
Dermatologists say that advertisements for fairness creams never mention that they contain bleaching agents such as nickel and chromium.
Back claims with proof: Council
The ads of a few Ayurvedic medicines have been banned for claiming to be “not habit-forming”. They contain the ingredient Senna which acts as a laxative and is, in fact, habit-forming.
Dr P. Vishwanathan of Kottakal Ayurveda Shala, Hyderabad, said, “In Ayurveda, we can talk about the natural elements that we use in our medicines. Our advertisements just like our products should not guarantee miracles.”
A common claim made by companies is that they are “number one in the industry”.
The CCC has stated that such an assumption cannot be made without adequate proof and without mentioning the category in which the company claims to be number one.
The ads of many drugs have been found to be in violation of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (DMR) Act of 1954.
Drugs targeting erectile dysfunction promise to rapidly produce a change in the performance of individuals. These ads are in clear violation of the DMR Act, which clearly prohibits the advertisement of a product claiming to maintain or improve sexual pleasure. Many ads promising an increase in height within a short span of time have also been banned as per the provisions of this Act.
Endocrinologists are in favour of the CCC banning advertisements claiming to have zero sugar.
Dr Ravi Sankar Erkulapati, an endocrinologist, says, “The advertisement of a brand of dried blackberries has been banned for claiming to have zero sugar. There are different types of sugar, and these products definitely contain fructose or fruit sugar. Once inside the body, all these types of sugars eventually become glucose.”
The ads of 31 educational institutions were banned. Prof. Addep Hussain says, “Students pick universities based on their ads. Many ads use rankings and percentages to attract students. However, this practice should be controlled because it is clearly misleading.”...