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The National Council of Psychotherapists

Est. 1971

YELLOW PAGES ADVERTISING

As previously reported within the Journal, some members have experienced problems with advertising within Yellow Pages.

It would appear that only when advertising is changed does the Advertising Copy Team at Yellow Pages check advertising to ensure that it meets the guidelines laid down by the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion.

It is with this knowledge that we reprint below the text of the message we received from the Committee of Advertising Practice, which also includes a list of words, that they feel are not suitable and a further list that is restricted to medical practitioners.

The following was received 12 April 2000

As you may know, all non-broadcast advertisements in the UK must conform with the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion, the set of rules drawn up by the advertising industry itself.

Clause 50.3 of the Codes states that 'Advertisers should not discourage essential treatment. Medical advice is needed for serious or prolonged ailments; advertisers should not offer advice on or diagnosis or treatment for them unless it is conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional.' The ASA classes' depression as a serious medical condition and in our view is unlikely to accept that psychotherapists are suitably qualified health professionals. In view of this, Yellow Pages' position reflects the requirements of the Codes.

There are certain Ailments, however, that can be referred to in advertisements including 'feeling down' or 'feeling blue' and we recognise that psychotherapists are particularly suited to treating these particular minor conditions. I would therefore advise that those members who currently refer to depression change this reference to either of the two mentioned above. I am attaching a copy of the CAP Help Note on References to Ailments and you will see from the general list those conditions that it would be acceptable to refer to. Those with a (P) next to them are particularly relevant to your members.

I hope this advice is helpful and has clarified the situation for you.

HELP NOTE ON

HEALTH, BEAUTY AND SLIMMING

ADVERTISEMENTS THAT REFER TO AILMENTS

Background

These guidelines, drawn up by the Copy Advice team, are intended to help advertisers, agencies and media interpret the rules in the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion as far as they relate to the subject discussed. They are based on similar ASA cases and neither constitutes new rules nor binds the ASA Council in the event of a complaint about an advertisement that follows them.

These rules of the Codes have particular relevance to health and beauty advertisements that refer to ailments:

"Advertisers have primary responsibility for ensuring that their advertisements are legal. Advertisements should contain nothing that breaks the law or incites anyone to break it, and should omit nothing that the law requires" (Clause 4.1)

"Advertisers should not discourage people from having essential treatment, medical advice is needed for serious or prolonged ailments and advertisers should not offer medicines or therapies for them" (Clause 50.2); and,

"Advice, diagnosis or treatment of any serious medical condition should be conducted face-to-face..." (Clause 50.3); and,

"Medical and scientific claims made about beauty and health-related products should be backed by trials, where appropriate conducted on people. Substantiation will be assessed by the ASA on the basis of established scientific knowledge" (Clause 50.1).

Checking Advertisements

Checking the acceptability of advertising under both the law and the Codes can be a multi-stage process. Advertisers, agencies and media are urged to follow these steps:

1. satisfy Clause 4.1 by establishing whether medicine law, food law or medical devices law applies to either the product, its constituents or the claims made for it. Advice on medicine law can be sought from the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), food law from Trading Standards Officers (TS0s) and medical devices law from the Medical Devices Agency (MDA);

2. satisfy clauses 50.2 and 50.3 by deleting all references to any ailments that are usually considered to be serious or prolonged. This helps avoid situations where sufferers of such ailments are encouraged to seek treatment from advertised products or therapies instead of qualified medical practitioners. The ASA is unlikely to accept references to serious or prolonged ailments in an advertisement addressed to the public, even if the advertised product is proven to treat the ailments (though see point 1 below); and,

3. satisfy Clause 50.1 by establishing whether substantiation is held to back up claims, particularly "new" or "breakthrough" claims.

References to Ailments in Advertising

To help the industry determine whether ailments are serious or prolonged, the Copy Advice team has compiled two lists. When referring to either list, please consider these points:

1. Clauses 50.2 and 50.3, and therefore the rest of these guidelines, do not apply to advertisements: for products that hold a product licence/marketing authorisation to treat a serious or prolonged ailment., for hospitals, clinics and the like that employ qualified practitioners; that are addressed only to members of the medical or allied professions

2. Clauses 50.2 and 50.3 are not intended to prohibit claims that products or therapies can help reduce the risk of contracting a serious or prolonged ailment (though it is important to ensure that such claims are legal)

3. Most health practitioners specialise in treating different types of ailments. For example, a physiotherapist might be suited to treating aches and pains and hypnotherapist might be of use to someone suffering from a phobia. Practitioners of the disciplines represented by these capital letters can probably treat those listed ailments that display the same capital letter.

P Psychosomatic (e.g. hypnotherapy, psychotherapy)

M Manipulative (e.g. osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropractic)

Ac Acupuncture

Ar Aromatherapy;

This information is not exhaustive and may, on receipt of satisfactory evidence, be updated from time-to-time.

4. Unless otherwise indicated, prefixing an acceptable reference to an ailment with "serious", "chronic", "persistent" or similar is likely to render it unacceptable; and,

5. The lists are not exhaustive and are subject to amendment and updating in line with ASA adjudications and prevailing medical opinion, including Government reports. ASA/CAP will also take account of those ailments that can be referred to in advertisements, or on labelling for over-the-counter medicines that are generally available,

General List

Evidence may be sought by the ASA/CAP

Aches and Pains (M)

Acid Indigestion

Acidity, Stomach

Acne

Allergic Rhinitis

Anxiety (P)

Arthritic Pain (M)

Asthma

Athlete's Foot

Backache (M)

Back Pain (M)

Bedwetting (P)

Biliousness

Bunion

Calluses

Candida

Catarrh

Chilblains

Circulatory Problems, Local or Minor (M) [c.f. Circulation, Poor]

Cold

Compulsions (P)

Concentration (P)

Confidence (P)

Constipation

Cough

Cough, Persistent or Chronic

Cramp (M)

Cystitis

Dandruff

Dental Pain

Dermatitis

Diarrhoea

Diet, Trouble Sticking to (P) [c.f. Obesity]

Digestion Problems (M)

Drink Problems

Drowsiness

Dyspepsia

Earache

Eczema

Eczema, Stress Related (P)

Emotional Problems (P)

Enuresis (Bedwetting) (P)

Erection, Improved

Erection Problems / Erectile Dysfunction, Temporary

[c.f. Impotence, Impotence Temporary and Erection Problems/Erectile Dysfunction]

Fatigue

Fatigue, Chronic

Fears (P)

Feeling Down or Feeling Blue (P) [c.f. depression]

Fever

Fibrositis (M)

Flatulence

Fluid Retention

Flushes

Foot Odour

Frigidity (P)

Frozen Shoulder

Gastric Reflux

Glue Ear

Grief (P)

Guilt (P)

Haemorrhoids

Halitosis

Hay fever

Headaches (P)

Heartburn

Hoarseness

Indigestion

Indigestion, Nervous

Inflammation

Influenza

Insomnia

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IES)

Joint Pains (M)

Jumpy (P)

Lethargy (P)

Libido, Low (P)

Lumbago (M)

Memory Lapses

Menopause

Menstrual Pain

Migraine Headache [c.f. Migraine]

Motion Sickness

Muscle Spasms (M)

Muscle Tension (M,P)

Nail biting (P)

Nappy Rash

Nausea

Neck Ache

Neuralgia (M)

Numbness

Obsession (P)

Pre-Menstrual Tens on (PMT) or

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) (P)

Panic Attack (P)

Period Pain

Phobias (P)

Piles

Pins and Needles

Relationship Problems (P)

Relax, Inability to (P,M,Ar)

Rheumatic Pain (M)

Rheumatism (M)

Ringworm

Sexual Counselling (P)

Sciatica (M)

Sinuses, Congested

Sinusitis

Skin Problems [c.f. Psoriasis]

Skin Problems, Stress Related (P)

Sleep, Trouble Getting to (Ar, P)

Sleeplessness, intermittent (Ar, P)

Smoking (P, Ac)

Snoring (P)

Spasms (M)

Sports Injuries, minor (M)

Stammering (P)

Stomach, Upset

Stress (Ar, P)

Tension (P, M. Ar)

Tiredness

Tiredness, Chronic

Thrush, Vaginal [c.f. Thrush, Oral]

Travel Sickness

Verrucae

Water Retention

Warts

Wind

Restricted List

Refer first to Medicines Control Agency/Medicines Devices Agency

Angina

Anorexia

Arthritis [c.f. Arthritic Pain (M)]

Blood Pressure, Low or High

Bronchial Congestion

Bronchitis

Bulimia

Cancer

Cholesterol, High

Circulation, Poor [c.f. Circulatory Problems, Local or Minor (M)]

Colic

Conjunctivitis

Depression [c.f. Feeling Down or Feeling Blue]

Diabetes

Dizziness

Ear Disorders, Serious

Eating Disorders

Emphysema

Epilepsy

Erection Problems or Erectile Dysfunction

[c.f. Erection Problems/Erectile Dysfunction, Temporary]

Eye Disorders, Serious

Fits

Gastroenteritis

Gingivitis

Glaucoma

Gout

Haematoma

Hiatus Hernia

Heart Disease

Herpes Zoster

Hypertension

Impetigo

Impotence [c.f. Erection Problems/Erectile Dysfunction, Temporary]

Impotence, Temporary [c.f. Erection Problems/Erectile Dysfunction, Temporary]

Infertility [c.f. Sexual Counselling]

Jaw Joint Dysfunction

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Malaria

Menstruation, Regulation of

Migraine [c.f. Migraine Headaches]

Muscular Dystrophy

Myopathy

Obesity [c.f. Diet, Trouble Sticking to]

Osteoporosis

Paralysis

Prostate Problems.

Psoriasis [c.f. Skin Problems]

Respiratory Diseases

Senility

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Shingles

Skin Disorders, Serious

Spinal Injuries

Stroke

Thrush, Oral [c.f. Thrush, Vaginal]

Tonsillitis

Ulcer, Gastric

Undereating

Whiplash

Advice on specific advertisements is available from the Copy Advice team by telephone on 0171-560 4100 or by fax on 0171-680 4072

 

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