Rs 10 lakh penalty imposed on Glaxo Smith Kline for misleading ad, Parl panel told

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh each on Glaxo Smith Kline and Naaptol for misleading advertisements of their products.

These are among the five cases where the CCPA has imposed penalties on entities for issuing misleading advertisements with false claims and adopting unfair means to misguide consumers.

Apart from this, the authority has till date issued 85 notices against misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices, out of which 38 cases were related to misleading advertisements.

Subsequent to the notices issued, 14 companies have withdrawn their advertisements and three companies have agreed for corrective advertisement.

This information was given to the Standing Committee on Food and Consumer Affairs by the Government.

The panel in its report, which was laid in both the Houses of Parliament during the ongoing Winter session, has recommended to the ministry to devise a mechanism to control this widespread menace and provide for a strict monitoring mechanism on fake advertisements, to save the interests of consumers.

In this context, the committee further suggested that the entity concerned, whose advertisements are found to be fake, should be made to pay heavy penalties as a check on these companies.

The CCPA was set up under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

In response to the committee’s recommendations, the ministry said that the CCPA directed Glaxo Smith Kline Asia to discontinue all advertisements for its Sensodyne product in India which showed endorsement by foreign dentists, practicing in the UK, and also directed it to discontinue the advertisement which make claims like “Recommended by Dentist worldwide”, “World’s No.1 Sensitivity toothpaste”, as these were unsubstantiated by the company.

In addition to this, the CCPA also imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Glaxo Smith Kline for its false and misleading advertisement.

The ministry also informed the panel that a penalty of Rs 10 lakh has been imposed on Naaptol with the directions to discontinue all its misleading advertisements and false claims made in them regarding magnetic knee support, instant pain relief for knees, acupressure Yoga slippers, acupressure massage slippers and gold jewellery of Rs 200 (misleading consumers by its name).

Further, the company claimed in its advertisements that their products are available for a limited period of time, aiming to pressurise consumers to make an immediate decision and depriving them of sufficient time to make an informed decision, the ministry informed the Parliamentary panel.

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