ITC unveils new rules on food, drugs

The Independent Television Commission is to unveil new rules covering the advertising of food, slimming products and pharmaceuticals this week.

The move brings the ITC in line with public and private sector opinion, and follows the publication of new advertising rules by the Advertising Standards Authority last month (MW January 20).

The revised ITC guidelines relate specifically to the advertising of medicines and treatments, health claims, nutrition and dietary supplements.

For the first time, specific rules have been introduced governing the advertising of slimming products. This includes placing the same restrictions on the times when slimming product ads can be broadcast as already exist for alcohol, thereby ensuring products do not target children or adolescents.

In the past, TV companies have been required to assess creative content. Now, the ITC will specify which type of creative treatment is unacceptable.

Health claims for food products must now be fully substantiated.

Creative treatments must guard against encouraging over-indulgence in products such as confectionery, the ITC adds. So advertisers must ensure that their work “pays responsible attention to health implications”.

Pharmaceutical products’ rules have been updated to accommodate recent European Union legislation governing the sale of over-the-counter drugs and homeopathic products.

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