Philippines centre sanctioned for breaching UK Advertising Standards

 

If you target UK customers you must comply with UK advertising rules, wherever you are, a Philippines clinic has found out. This even applies to emails.

UK advertising for the Shambhallah Healing Centre in Baccor breached advertising rules and must not appear again in its current form. The ASA told Shambhallah Healing Centre not to state or imply that they could treat conditions that required medical supervision unless that treatment takes place under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional.

The UK advertising regulator is the Advertising Standards Authority. The UK Advertising Codes lay down rules for advertisers, agencies and media owners to follow. The CAP Code is the rulebook for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications.

An email for The Shambhallah Healing Centre offered to 'Reverse your diabetes or hypertension in 30 days'.

The complainant, who understood that the treatment offered could not treat diabetes, challenged whether the ad discouraged essential treatment, for which medical supervision should be sought.

Shambhallah Healing Centre did not believe that it needed to provide documentary evidence to support the claims because it was policy that complainants must undergo their treatment in order to declare that it did not work.

The CAP Code requires that marketers must not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought. They must not offer specific advice on, diagnosis or treatment for such conditions unless that advice, diagnosis or treatment is conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified medical professional.

The ASA considered that consumers would understand the ad to mean that the treatment offered would cure or treat diabetes.  And that it explicitly discouraged essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought, and discouraged treatment being conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified medical professional.

Shambhallah's considerable experience in treating patients did not constitute suitable qualification to be a medical professional. So the ASA concluded that the ad discouraged essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought and therefore breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).

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