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Current Affairs

Sensodyne ad controversy

Date: 15 February 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare has been asked by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to discontinue its ad on Sensodyne toothpaste.

 

Background

The Sensodyne ad features foreign dentists endorsing the product. The regulator has also ordered investigation into the claims made by the company.

 

Details

  • The ad, which features on television, YouTube and other social media sites, shows UK-practicing dentists endorsing the Sensodyne products. 

  • The Revised Dentists (Code Of Ethics) Regulations 2014 prohibits Indian dentists to endorse any drug or product of the industry publically.

  • The regulator has observed that use of UK-based dentists by the company was an attempt to circumvent the law.

  • The ad also tried to show that ‘foreign’ practicing dentists are recommending its product. It was said to be ‘unethical’.

 

Objections

Since medical professionals are appreciating, recommending and suggesting the use of the product, consumers feel that they are ignoring the advice of a dentist.

 

Potential actions against company

  • Investigation has been ordered for claims made in the ad such as the product was “recommended by dentists worldwide”, “world’s no. 1 sensitivity toothpaste” etc.

  • If the regulator finds that company has indulged in misleading advertising, it could face fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and a prohibition from advertising any product and service for upto one year.

  • The CCPA had initiated a suo moto action under Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019.

 

CCPA

  • The CCPA was constituted under Section 10(1) of The Consumer Protection Act, 2019. It has widened its scope in addressing consumer concerns. 

  • It will be a statutory body consisting of Chief Commissioner as head, and only two other commissioners as members.

 

Mandate

It will act against unfair trade practices, and false and misleading advertisements that can affect the interests of the public and consumers.

 

Powers

It can investigate into matters relating to violations of consumer rights or unfair trade practices suo motu, or based on direction from the central government.