Who: The Advertising Standards Authority (the “ASA”) and Hexpress Healthcare Ltd t/a www.euroclinix.co.uk
When: 31 December 2014
Law stated as at: 9 February 2015
The website of an online healthcare provider euroClinix, featured a logo in the shape of a green tick alongside text stating, “PharmaCheck Know your Pharmacy”. If a visitor to the site clicked on the logo, this opened a new window which contained the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (“GPhC”) logo, the details of the website’s operator, the online pharmaceutical retailer Hexpress Healthcare, and their GPhC registration number. The GPhC is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in the UK, and the new window contained a link which took visitors to the GPhC’s website, where they could verify Hexpress Healthcare’s registration number.
The Advertising Standards Authority (the “ASA”) received a complaint that the PharmaCheck feature on euroClinix’s website was misleading to consumers, as it implied that it was an official scheme approved by the GPhC rather than simply an advertiser-created feature.
The ASA found that whilst the purpose of the logo may have been to confirm that Hexpress Healthcare wa a genuine online pharmacy, registered and regulated by the GPhC, the logo had the effect of misleadingly suggesting that Hexpress Healthcare was part of an official scheme run by the GPhC. The logo featuring the green “PharmaCheck” tick along with the words “Know your Pharmacy”, gave the impression that Hexpress Healthcare was one of a selected group of pharmacies, distinguished from others which were not part of this PharmaCheck scheme.
Since this was not in fact the case, the ASA told Hexpress Healthcare that the logo should be removed and that in future, the advertiser should not use logos that could suggest they were part of an official scheme, unless that was in fact the case.
Why this matters:
Advertisers should ensure that when drawing consumers’ attention to the fact that they are registered with an official body, the use of logos or other similar advertising techniques must not create the misleading impression that they are part of a scheme run by this official body, distinguishing them in some way from other advertisers.