Ads banned for selling IV drips claiming to boost virus immunity

Adverts promoting IV drips that claimed to boost patients’ immunity to Covid-19 have been banned by the advertising watchdog.

Adverts have been banned promoting IV drips claiming to boost a patient's immunity to coronavirus
Adverts have been banned promoting IV drips claiming to boost a patient's immunity to coronavirus

The posts, made online by medical companies, were a “straight breach” of the rules regarding products sold to treat or prevent the disease, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.

No treatments have yet been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), meaning that companies cannot make medical claims on their products relating to coronavirus.

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The ASA investigations were fast-tracked as part of a focus on prioritising and tackling ads that exploit health-related anxieties during the pandemic.

Two Instagram posts made last month by Cosmetic Medical Advice employees suggested that a “super immune system booster” IV drip was an effective way to protect against viral infections and the clinic followed the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A similar page on the REVIV company website, titled “Coronavirus & The Real Pandemic”, also claimed to offer protection against the disease through a “Megaboost” IV therapy treatment.

The post read: “As a doctor, I truly believe in the power of prevention and REVIV, one of the largest global preventative healthy movements currently in existence.

“If we ... feed our bodies correctly with more of the right nutrients and less of the wrong nutrients, then we can ensure that our immune system is working at a protective and effective level.”

REVIV UK Ltd said the ad was a blog post that was written in response to customer queries and was intended to be “purely educational”.

The companies were ordered to take the posts down by the ASA, who consulted with the MHRA, and deemed them in breach of guidelines.

It comes as the MHRA reports an increasing number of bogus medical products claiming to cure coronavirus that are being sold online.

At the start of this month the watchdog said it was investigating 14 cases of such unlicensed items being sold through unauthorised websites and had already disabled several domain names and social media accounts.

A spokesman for the ASA said that a further enforcement notice would be put out to suppliers of IV drips, ensuring they did not breach the rules relating to Covid-19.

Facebook last month temporarily banned advertisements for medical face masks as part of an effort to prevent use of its social media platform to exploit people’s concerns about the virus.

The ban covers advertisements on the social network as well as commercial listings on Facebook Marketplace – the service’s peer-to-peer shopping facility.

Facebook had previously announced a ban on ads that made claims about the health benefits of a particular product or guaranteed that “a product will prevent someone from contracting” the disease.

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