Advertising Standards Authority Adjudication

6 July 2005


Forest Gate Homeopathic Practice
484 Katherine Road
Forest Gate, London E7 8DP

Broadcaster: Vectone TV and Bangla TV
No. of complaints: 1

Complaint:

Two similar advertisements for Forest Gate Homeopathic Practice were shown: one on
Vectone TV and the other on Bangla TV. Both advertisements depicted various people
being treated in the practice. The treatments included an eye and an oral examination plus
what appeared to be a blood-pressure check. One of the men conducting treatments wore
a stethoscope and in one of the advertisements appeared to give the 'patient' some
medicine. In the other, people were shown walking inside the practice and waiting. Both
advertisements featured a close-up shot of a certificate from the British Institute of
Homeopathy in the name of Alim Uddin. A man was shown in both advertisements
opening a medicine cabinet full of bottles and packets. This was followed by close-up
shots of packets of pills and bottles. At the end of both advertisements on-screen text said
“Consultant - MD Alim Uddin B.S.Y (D.HOM) F.B.I.H” The voiceover for both
advertisements was in Bengali and according to the translation provided by Vectone TV
said:

a. Introducing new methods to your health care.

b. Forest Gate Homeopathic Practice.

c. British degree holders and experienced Bangladeshi homeopathic doctors are available
to cure all kinds of chronic diseases.

d. This treatment is fully scientific, based on natural methods and free of side-effects.
That's why it's safe and effective for all.

e. So don't waste your time, visit “Forest Gate Homeopathic Practice” today.

A viewer complained that:

1. the certificate shown did not permit Alim Uddin to practice homeopathy and the
advertisements suggested otherwise.

The Authority challenged whether the advertisements:

2. gave the impression of professional advice;

3. referred to the approval of a particular product or its ingredients;

4. made medicinal and therapeutic claims regarding the treatments;

5. claimed that viewers would be cured by the treatments;

6. suggested that there were no side-effects from the treatments;

7. claimed the effects of the treatments were guaranteed and

8. suggested the treatments were safe or effective because they were “natural”.

Adjudication:

Vectone TV said it had withdrawn the version of the advertisement shown on its channel
pending the outcome of our investigation. Neither licensee commented on the points
raised.

1. Complaint upheld
We were advised by the Health Professions Council and the General Medical Council that
there were nine regulatory bodies in total that covered health related services in the United
Kingdom. None of these regulated homeopathy and as such homeopathic practitioners did
not require any particular qualification to set up a homeopathic practice. We were also
advised by the British Homeopathic Association that, although their own members were
required to be registered with a statutory professional body, there were no specific
regulatory requirements for homeopathic practitioners to have any particular qualifications
or be affiliated with a statutory body. We understood that a certificate was not required to
practice homeopathy. We considered the advertisement was likely to give the misleading
impression that a certificate was required and might also mislead as to Mr Alim Uddin's
professional status.

2. Upheld
We considered the advertisement implied the men providing the treatment were “doctors”
offering professional advice. The inclusion of the certificate along with the voiceover which
referred to them as “doctors” added to this impression and it therefore breached the
Advertising Standards Code.

3. Upheld
The advertisements appeared to approve the medicinal-type products shown. They
depicted one of the “doctors” reaching inside a cabinet full of packets followed by close-up
shots during which time it was possible to see the label and brand name of the products.
This was not permitted by the Code.

4. Upheld
The advertising claimed “to cure all kind of chronic diseases”. We considered this to be a
medicinal and therapeutic claim which was not permitted by the Code.

5. Upheld
Unless allowed by a marketing authorisation, claims that a medicinal product can cure an
ailment are unacceptable. We understood that no such authorisation existed for
homeopathic medicinal products and therefore considered the advertisement in breach.

6. Upheld
The Code stated that “no advertisement for a medicinal product may suggest it has no side
effects”. We considered that the claim “free of side-effects” breached the Code.

7. Upheld
We considered that, by claiming the treatments were “effective for all” and that “doctors
are available to cure all kinds of chronic diseases” the advertisements implied the effect of
the treatments would be guaranteed. This was not permitted by the Code.

8. Upheld
The Code does not permit advertisements for a medicinal product to suggest that its safety
or efficacy are due to it being “natural”. We therefore considered the claim “based on
natural methods … that's why it's safe and effective for all” breached the Code.
The advertising was found to be in breach of CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standard
Code Rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 8.1.2 (Impressions of professional advice and
support), 8.2.2 (b) (Homeopathic medicinal products), 8.2.8 (Guarantee of efficacy), 8.2.9
(Cure), 8.2.12 (Side effects) and 8.2.14 ('Natural' products) and should not be shown again
in its current form.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Broadcast)


Advertising Standards Authority,
Mid City Place, 71 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6QT, United Kingdom

Related Adjudications: 2006, 2008

This page was posted on April 23, 2008.

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