To deal with misleading advertisements and to ensure transparency in health and wellness endorsements, central govt has released additional guidelines for health and wellness celebrities, influencers, and Virtual Influencers in the field of health and wellness.
Consumer Affairs Ministry said, the additional guidelines aim to deal with misleading advertisements, unsubstantiated claims and ensure transparency in health and wellness endorsements.
These guidelines are an extension to the Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022 released on June 9, 2022.
Under the guidelines, certified medical practitioners and health experts promoting products or making any health-related claims must disclose that they are certified health and fitness experts and medical practitioners. It said, that celebrities and influencers presenting themselves as health experts or medical practitioners, must provide clear disclaimers. The Ministry said, it is always recommended to encourage audiences to consult with healthcare professionals for seeking professional medical advice and complete information about the products. It said, violations may lead to penalties under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and other relevant provisions of the law. The Ministry said, this guideline will further strengthen the industry and protect consumer interests.
Misleading advertisements have become problematic for consumers as there is no tool to ensure whether informations given by celebrities or influencers are correct or misleading. Govt is trying to curb the misleading the advertisements. In this regard, governments has taken many initiatives to aware the consumers.
According to guidelines, Celebrities, influencers and virtual influencers presenting themselves as health experts or medical practitioners, when sharing information, promoting products or services or making any health-related claims, must provide clear disclaimers, ensuring the audience understands that their endorsements should not be seen as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
However, “General wellness and health advice like ‘Drink Water and Stay Hydrated’, ‘Exercise Regularly and Be Physically Active’, ‘Reduce Sitting and Screen Time’, ‘Get Enough Good Sleep’, ‘Drink Turmeric Milk for faster recovery’, ‘Use sunscreen daily to protect from harmful UV rays’, ‘Oiling of hair for better growth’ etc. not associated with specific products or services or not targeting specific health conditions or outcomes, are exempt from these regulations.