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Osteopathy: New ASA guidelines for marketing claims

ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), the UK’s independent regulator for advertising across media, have released a new review and guidance for osteopaths in relation to marketing claims for pregnant women, children and babies. The new guidance has been put together with the General Osteopathic Council and explains what kind of claims can and can’t be made for these patient groups.

You can read the guidelines in full on ASA’s website.

The new guidelines are intended to help osteopaths talk about the healthcare they provide in a way that complies with ASA’s Advertising Codes. As well as explaining why some claims are unlikely to be accepted due to the current evidence base for conditions specific to these patient groups, it also gives examples of claims which are likely to be accepted and why, for instance when a practitioner holds specific training and qualifications for paediatric osteopathy.

For example, an osteopath’s website can claim that “pregnancy can cause general aches and pains including joint and back pain and osteopathy could help”, whereas the following statement is likely to be misleading and would most likely not be accepted: “Many pregnant women find osteopathy relieves common symptoms such as nausea and heartburn.”

The ASA state they recognise that osteopaths provide a service to a wide range of patients and only wish to ensure all advertising is responsible and that claims about the efficacy of treatment options can be backed up by robust evidence.

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