Website warned over advertising despite warnings

Parenting website babyjabs.co.uk has been given a warning about advertising prescription only medications to the public, only months after being ordered to remove discredited claims regarding MMR vaccinations and autism by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 31st October 2012

According to the ASA ruling, 15 complainants challenged whether various claims and references on their website could be substantiated.  The ASA upheld the complaint that advertising prescription only medications was in breach of their code.

Background

The website had previously claimed in August that the MMR vaccination could be causing autism in up to 10% of children in the UK, as reported by Mindful Mum.  The ‘misleading and unsubstantiated’ claims were ordered to be removed.  The ASA noted that original allegations of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism by Andrew Wakefield was “strongly rejected” by government and the medical establishment but realised that consumers may wrongly infer a connection from the erroneous information provided by babyjabs.co.uk

Response

Responding to the new complaint, BabyJabs said they would remove material related to the MMR vaccine and the brand names of the vaccines would not be used.  The ASA said in their ruling:

“The ASA acknowledged the complainants’ concerns about the truthfulness of the claims made on the BabyJabs website, some of which were similar to a previous upheld ASA adjudication. We were concerned that the advertiser had continued to make similar claims despite their assurance that they would not do so again”.

Source:  ASA Adjudications, BabyJabs, 31st October 2012
Photography: Alex Proimos @Flickr

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