Dischem Antistress

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Posted 03 May 2013

A consumer submitted a complaint to the ASA that the product name, “Dischem Antistress”, and the claim, “Anti-stress”, “Combat stress, anxiety & Insomnia”, are unsubstantiated. He also referred to Clause 4.3 in Guideline 1 of the ASA Code, which states: “In a letter dated 1984 01 27 the Medicines Control Council confirmed that a product cannot claim to relieve stress unless it is registered as a medicine and the claim has been approved by the MCC”.

Dischem responded that they had decided to discontinue the product.

Dischem Antistress / HA Steinman / 19059
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Dis-Chem (Pty) Ltd Respondent

23 Apr 2013

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6529

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against Dis-Chem’s Anti-Stress packaging.

The bottle is wrapped with a label that states “DIS-CHEM GOLD, ANTI-STRESS” and “Combat stress, Anxiety & Insomnia”.

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant submitted that that the product name and the claim, “Anti-stress”, “Combat stress, anxiety & Insomnia”, are unsubstantiated. He also referred to Clause 4.3 in Guideline 1 of the ASA Code, which states:

“In a letter dated 1984 01 27 the Medicines Control Council confirmed that a product cannot claim to relieve stress unless it is registered as a medicine and the claim has been approved by the MCC”.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
The complainant identified the following clauses to be taken into consideration:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Guideline 1 (Medicines) Clause 4.3 – Stress Claims

RESPONSE
The respondent confirmed that the product has been discontinued.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

The ASA has a long standing principle which holds that where an advertiser provides an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising in a manner that addresses the concerns raised, the undertaking may, at the discretion of the ASA, be accepted without considering the merits of the matter.

The respondent submitted that the product has been discontinued, which arguably addresses the complainant’s concerns. There is, therefore, no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter at this time.

The discontinuation of the product is therefore considered as an adequate resolution to the complaint on condition that the advertising which gave rise to the complaint is not used again in future.

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