Adverts banned for promoting the benefits of Botox

15/01/14

Botox injection

The advertising watchdog has banned adverts for two health clinics for promoting Botox.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the rulings "set a precedent of what we expect from all advertisers across the sector".

The banned adverts were produced by Dermaskin Clinics, based in Cardiff, and HB Health in Knightsbridge, London.

Advertising prescription-only medicines such as Botox to the public is prohibited under UK regulations.

Any company referring to Botox must stick to the facts and avoid any promotional language
Advertising Standards Authority

Those who offer the product and other injected treatments can describe them as "cosmetic fillers" or "injected fillers" but cannot name Botox directly.

However, both companies named Botox on the home page of their websites, describing it as a "commonly used beauty treatment", while Dermaskin went on to say it was "a proven and safe treatment, which has been in use for over 16 years".

HB Health told the ASA it had removed the reference to Botox from its home page and replaced it with the term "wrinkle softening treatment", but added that references to the product were extremely common within the beauty industry and many clinic websites contained similar content.

Dermaskin agreed to remove the reference to Botox from its home page, but added the use of Botox for facial lines and wrinkles was "both common and widespread amongst the specialists and doctors within the speciality".

Botox

The ASA said Dermaskin's website included claims that went beyond factual references and were a direct promotion of Botox.

It said: "Because many of the direct and implied references to Botox within the website constituted a promotion of a prescription-only medicine to the general public, we therefore concluded that the code had been breached."

The ASA noted that HB Health had changed its website to remove references to Botox, but that this had not resolved the issue because visitors who clicked on the replacement text "wrinkle softening treatment" were re-directed to content about Botox.

The ASA ruled that both ads should not appear again in their current form and warned both clinics to "take special care when referencing Botox in the future".

The watchdog said: "Any company referring to Botox must stick to the facts and avoid any promotional language. We'll be communicating this requirement to the sector and providing help and advice so they get their ads right."

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