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Three ads promoting sclerotherapy treatments have been banned by the ASA, for violating rules regarding the advertisement of prescription-only medicines (POMs). The ban comes as part of an effort to ensure businesses comply with laws prohibiting the advertising of POMs to the public. Sclerotherapy is a medical treatment for varicose veins, which requires the use of a POM and cannot be advertised to the general public.
The ASA has banned the three ads that promoted sclerotherapy on social media, as well as a fourth ad promoting training courses for sclerotherapy that failed to provide clear information on the course's nature, requirements, qualifications, and possible professional registration details. The advertisers have been instructed to adhere to the rules in future content.
Enforcement of these regulations is a top priority, as seen in the withdrawal of fifty thousand ads for Botox from Instagram with Meta's assistance, following an Enforcement Notice in 2020. The ASA reminds practitioners to exercise caution in their advertising practices, avoiding before-and-after photos, special offers, or prizes. On websites, they can advertise a service, but not a specific product.
Miles Lockwood, Director of Complaints and Investigations at the ASA said:
“It’s really important that ads aren’t marketing POMs to the public. Those are rules set out in legislation, and we enforce them to ensure that consumers are protected."
“We know that sole traders and small businesses aren’t always aware of how the rules apply to their work, particularly online and on social media. These rulings, alongside our training programmes, will remind businesses of their responsibilities around advertising treatments that use POMs.”
Here are the individual links to review the rulings:
ASA Ruling on Venus Beauty & Aesthetics
ASA Ruling on Victoria Anne Beauty
ASA Ruling on Chala's Beauty Box