An internet advertisement for something called “The M.E. Cures PIONEERS OF THE SMILE M.E. CURES PROGRAMME” has today been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following a complaint by the ME Association.
Text in the advert referred to the suitability and benefits of ‘Smile Qigong' for people with M.E. and stated that “Benefits of Smile Qigong include raised energy levels, improved focus”.
Our medical adviser, Dr Charles Shepherd, challenged whether claims to treat M.E. in both the title of the page and the description of the therapy could be substantiated.
And a further complaint by the MEA against the same practice about claims to be able to treat a number of medical conditions with various therapies was also ordered to removed.
We complained that the therapies – including thermal auricular therapy, Indian head massage and Buteyko breathing – were not being administered by qualified health professionals.
The company is run from premises in Tamworth Road, Sutton Coldfield, by Ron Prescott ND, who failed to answer the criticisms.
The ASA rulings can be read in full as follows:
ME Cures t/a Smile Gigong: www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2014/10/ME-Cures/SHP_ADJ_276239.aspx#.VDT59UvC-2o
Ron Prescott ND t/a ronprescottnd.co.uk: http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2014/10/Ron-Prescott-ND/SHP_ADJ_276338.aspx#.VDT6pkvC-2o
Dr Charles Shepherd explained the ME Association's position today. He said:
The ME Association carefully monitors all forms of advertising and promotional material that are making claims about the treatment of ME/CFS.
Consequently, we regularly refer unsubstantiated therapeutic claims to various regulatory bodies, including the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), trading standards and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
As noted in the ASA adjudications, these investigations followed a complaint that we submitted earlier this year.
The ASA adjudications once again send a clear message to practitioners and product manufacturers who are making claims for success in relation to treatments for ME/CFS.
They should only be doing so when there is sound published evidence from clinical trials to support such claims.
How the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer reported the story. Warning – heavy advertising content.