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Examples of prohibited expressions and rewritten expressions when advertising the treatment conte...

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Narumami Attorney
Narumi Makai Lawyer

Marunouchi Soleil Law Office

Familiar with the business related to beauty and health, he is active as a team leader of the "Health & Beauty Team" at the legal office of Marunouchi Soleil. Many seminars and lectures on advertising regulations, landscape law, medicinal machine law, and special commercial law.

OK / NG image

There are many advertisements and websites that appeal the content and effects of treatment at medical institutions, but medical content is subject to strict regulations under the "Medical Advertising Guidelines" set by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

In cosmetic medicine, consultations on economic and physical damage have occurred due to the influence of advertisements for the purpose of collecting patients, so regarding the notation regarding the effects of treatments that require aesthetics such as cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and cosmetic dentistry , The restrictions are becoming stricter.

Therefore, this time, we will introduce an example of beauty care regarding expressions that should be noted when describing medical information.

Subject to regulation of medical advertising guidelines

Definition of advertising in medical advertising guidelines

Websites that provide information on aesthetic medicine are also subject to the regulations of the Medical Advertising Guidelines, but they are not regulated unless they are advertisements. If you check the definition of the advertisement here, it will be judged as an advertisement if all of the following requirements are met.

  1. Intention to attract patients to see a doctor
    (Attractiveness)
  2. The name or name of the person who provides the medical practice or dental practice or the name of the hospital or clinic can be specified.
    (Specificity)

Beauty medical institution (clinic) sites that meet the above requirements are considered to be advertising and must be operated in accordance with the medical advertising guidelines .

Media subject to medical advertising guidelines regulation

Not only websites but also the following media are subject to regulation.

  • website
  • E-mail newsletter
  • SNS
  • Pamphlet distributed outside the hospital
  • Newspapers / magazines
  • TV / radio

The posters posted in the hospital and the pamphlets distributed in the hospital are not subject to the medical advertising guidelines because they are not "attractive" because they are limited to patients who have already undergone medical examinations.

Details of advertisements prohibited by medical advertisements

A man with a cross

  1. False advertising
  2. Comparison good advertising
  3. Hype
  4. Advertising with content that is offensive to public order and morals
  5. Advertisement with content that impairs dignity
  6. Advertising with content prohibited by other laws
  7. Experiences about the content and effects of treatment
  8. Before and after treatment content and effects that may mislead the patient

Here, we will confirm the details of 1 to 6 out of the above eight.

Ads that are considered false (false ads)

Guarantee of certainty

There is absolutely no medical care, and it is false to guarantee that safety and efficacy are absolutely certain .

The medical therapeutic effect is shown by surveys and studies of a huge number of patients by pharmaceutical companies. Also, even treatments that are shown to be effective by such rigorous statistics may not be fully effective for some people.

An expression that is misunderstood as if the desired effect of a particular treatment or drug appears in everyone is NG .

Descriptions that cause misunderstandings about the required number of treatment days and the treatment target

Actually, even though it is necessary to go to the hospital after surgery and remove the thread , it is stated that "it will be completed in a day", or even if it may not be possible depending on the physical condition, "anyone can perform the procedure" It is NG to describe .

In addition, since the number of days that the treatment effect appears varies from person to person, it is not always stated that the effect can be obtained within "○ days", but until the effect is obtained, such as "0 days to 0 days". The standard period should be stated with a certain range. The same applies to the description of downtime (the time it takes for the skin to return to its original condition after receiving the treatment).

Description of only the results of data without presentation of evidence / investigation method

Specific figures such as "Satisfaction 〇%" must specify the specific survey method . In addition, data based on surveys conducted in a limited manner or surveys in which money is handed over is judged to be false because it may have been intentionally induced.

Advertisements that appear to be superior to other medical institutions (comparative excellent advertisements)

Expressions as if one medical institution is superior to another are not allowed as advertisements. It is not limited to information such as treatment results and treatment success, but expressions that are excellent in terms of facility scale and staffing are NG .

Words such as "Japan's leading", "No. 1 in the prefecture", "No. 1", "Highest", "More than anywhere", "No. 1 repeat rate" that induce the recognition that it is superior to other medical institutions are NG .. Please note that even if it is a fact, it is prohibited .

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of advertisements that appeal to celebrities going to the hospital . However, if you give the name of a well-known celebrity to, you will not be able to advertise because it will lead to unfounded misunderstandings such as "It is safe if you also pass XX".

Advertising that exaggerates the facts (hyperbole)

Exaggerating the facts, though not false, is not allowed because the recipient may mistakenly recognize them.

Emphasize the natural "permit" etc.

It goes without saying that the governor's permission is required when opening a hospital. Nonetheless, trying to create a special feeling by emphasizing the facts of permission is a hype. It is NG to emphasize the content that is quite natural , as it gives the false impression that the medical institution is special and excellent.

Description of the number of doctors and medical equipment that are not available at this time

The description of information that differs from the actual situation is NG . In particular, the number of doctors and the number of medical devices change over time. Be careful if you haven't updated your website for a few years now.

Description of therapeutic effect without scientific basis

It is not possible to advertise the risk or therapeutic effect with information that does not have a clear scientific basis , such as "People with XX have a high risk of XX" and "Recommended because XX has a high effect".

Certification, etc. by an organization with no actual activity

Many medical institution websites have pages that showcase the doctor's background and qualifications. In order to encourage visits, I would like to actively post the qualifications for holding.

In aesthetic medicine, some doctors are good at specific parts or treatments and have a proven track record, but they are not allowed to advertise with their own qualifications. Certification by an organization that is run by itself or an organization that has no actual activity is said to be a hype because it may attract unjustified patients .

Advertising that is offensive to public order and morals

Advertisements may be chosen to be somewhat radical in their attention, but expressions that are not suitable for advertising in medical information, such as violent or discriminatory expressions, should be avoided .

Advertising that impairs dignity

There are many advertisements that emphasize the low cost at medical institutions that provide free medical care with high aesthetics. The cost of treatment is one piece of information that the recipient is interested in, and it does not matter in itself.

However, information such as limited-time information and information on significant price reductions can strongly encourage unnecessary consultations, which often results in disadvantages for the recipients. Advertisements that emphasize costs more than necessary cannot be advertised because they impair dignity .

In addition, advertisements such as "○○ presents" that unfairly guide patients by not directly relating to the medical content and affecting the therapeutic effect are also prohibited .

Advertisements that violate other laws

It's not just the medical advertising guidelines that you should be aware of when advertising medical information. It is not possible to advertise with content that violates other laws such as the "Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Law," "Health Promotion Law," and "Scenic Table Law," so please check the following as well.

Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act (Pharmaceutical Machinery Act)

In order to respect the purpose of the advertising regulations of the Pharmaceutical Machinery Law, it is prohibited to advertise the brand name of pharmaceutical products.

However, for "websites that display information that patients, etc. request and obtain by themselves, and other similar advertisements" such as the websites of medical institutions, if the "requirements for releasing restrictions on possible advertising items" are met, which will be described later. Can be advertised.

Health promotion method

It is not permitted to display content that is significantly different from the facts or misleading content regarding the health maintenance and promotion effect of food.

Scenery method

Misleading labeling that seems to be significantly better about the medical care provided is prohibited as it may attract customers and prevent voluntary choices.

Expressions and rewriting examples prohibited in medical advertisements

Men in the image showing points

Prohibited expressions and rewriting examples

Forbidden expressions Rewriting example Reason for ban
Absolutely Avoid use False advertising
Treatment that anyone can receive Avoid use False advertising
Improves all symptoms Expected to improve 〇〇 and △△ False advertising
Technology not found on other machines Avoid use Comparison good advertising
Best / Most / First / No.1 / No.1 in Japan Avoid use Comparison good advertising
Leader of ○○ (treatment name) Has abundant treatment experience of ○○ Comparison good advertising
Irradiation with stronger output than other hospitals Avoid use Comparison good advertising
Boasts one of Japan's leading achievements Avoid use Comparison good advertising
Best / best Avoid use Comparison good advertising
It is more effective because it uses more A machines than other hospitals. The B machine (of another hospital) is ○○, and the A machine of my hospital is △△ (facts only) Comparison good advertising
Treatment received by 〇〇 (celebrity) Avoid use Comparison good advertising
Number of doctors ○ (more than actual) Make the number of people according to the actual situation Hype
Relatively safe Considering safety Hype
Petit 〇〇 (plastic surgery) Avoid use Hype
Reduce fat and lose weight Aim to reduce fat Hype
Only available at our hospital Avoid use Hype
State-of-the-art / optimal Avoid use Hype
All-you-can-irradiate 〇〇 No upper limit on the number of irradiations Degrading
〇 One free course contract 〇 〇 〇 yen per contract for 〇 times course Degrading

Expressions and rewriting examples to be careful

Expressions to watch out for Rewriting example Reasons to watch out for
Permanent hair removal Long-term hair removal effect False or hype unless it is true that the effect is permanent
The effect lasts a lifetime Expected long-term effect False or hype unless it is true that the effect will last a lifetime
Realize the effect within 〇〇 (period) Many people can feel the effect from ○○ to ○○ False or hype if not true
Redness after treatment disappears from 〇〇 (period) Redness after treatment becomes less noticeable at around ○○ ~ ○○ False or hype if not true
Improvement in 〇〇 (period) It often improves in the range of ○○ ~ ○○ False or hype if not true
Popular topic Avoid use If you can't justify it, it can be a hype
No scabs, no worries about scabs Less likely to become a scab Less risk of becoming a scab False or hype if not true
Never go back Hard to go back False advertising if not true
No allergic reaction Less likely to cause an allergic reaction False or hype if not true
Currently the newest machine Machine developed in XX Hype if not true
Relatively ○○ Compared to △△ ○○ If you do not specify what it is compared to, it may be a hype
Fewer treatments Fewer treatments compared to 〇〇 If you do not specify what it is compared to, it may be a hype
The only Japanese person (position) Became XX, XX Depending on the context, it may be a good comparison ad
First introduced in 〇〇 (area) Avoid use It can be a hype depending on the context

Contents that can be advertised in medical advertisement

Image of a man drawing 〇

The medical advertising guidelines stipulate what can be advertised in medical advertisements. The content that can be advertised is called "advertiseable matter", and in principle, you cannot advertise anything other than the advertiseable matter .

Specific example of "advertising possible items"

  1. Being a doctor or dentist
  2. Advertiseable clinical department names stipulated by the Medical Care Act
  3. Location of medical institution, contact information, name of administrator, etc.
  4. Whether or not to make an appointment for a medical examination and means
  5. Current scale of medical institutions and number of staff
  6. Information such as consultation counter, management of personal information, safety measures, etc.
  7. Examinations such as insurance medical treatment, surgery, and other treatment methods
  8. Some free medical examinations, surgery, and other treatment methods, such as treatment with drugs approved by the Pharmaceutical Machinery Law

Such

Since medical care is a service that affects human life and the body, the damage caused by receiving inappropriate services is greater than in other fields, and it is difficult to judge the service in advance because it is a highly specialized service. It is a field.

Therefore, it is necessary for the recipient of the advertisement to properly understand the content and convey information so that the accurate content can be read. On the other hand, there is also the negative effect that the recipient cannot fully convey the information that the recipient really wants to know with only the "advertising possible items" stipulated in the medical advertising guidelines.

Therefore, the 2018 revision of the Medical Advertising Guidelines has a new provision called "Releasing the limitation of advertisingable items".

How to advertise other than "advertiseable items"

Advertisements for the effects of aesthetic medicine are not included in the "Advertiseable Items". However, although the websites of medical institutions are typical, for "websites that display information that patients, etc. request and obtain themselves, and other similar advertisements" that contain information that helps make appropriate medical choices, please refer to " You can advertise the effect of the treatment by satisfying the requirement of "unlimited advertising" .

Requirements for releasing restrictions on advertiseable items

The following is the information that must be provided in order to release the "requirements for releasing the limitation of advertisingable items", that is, the "restriction of advertisingable items".

  1. Clarification of contact information such as telephone number and e-mail address where you can inquire about advertisement contents
  2. In the case of free medical treatment, clarify information on the contents and costs of treatment that is usually required
  3. Clarification of major treatment risks in the case of free practice
  4. Clarification of major side effects in the case of free medical care

For treatments using unapproved drugs and medical devices, the following must also be stated.

  1. Clarification of unapproved drug or medical device
  2. Clarification of the acquisition route of unapproved drugs and medical devices If the drug is obtained by personal import, etc., provide information on the "Pharmaceuticals, etc. that should be noted in personal import" page .
  3. Clarification of the presence or absence of domestically approved drugs and medical devices with the same ingredients and performance
  4. Clarification of information related to safety in other countries

Specific examples of expressions that are possible when the restriction release requirements are met

  • Free medical care not included in "Advertiseable items"
  • The effect of treatment
  • Treatment using the brand name of pharmaceuticals and medical devices
  • The fact that he received training as a biography of a medical worker
  • Department names other than those specified as "advertiseable items"

Such

The role of medical advertising guidelines and penalties for violations

warning

The medical advertising guidelines are established by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare based on the Medical Care Act. Therefore, if you advertise content that does not comply with the medical advertising guidelines, you will be subject to administrative guidance and penalties.

Previously, the advertising media covered by the medical advertising guidelines were limited to insert leaflets, commercials, signboards, etc., but from 2018, websites such as medical institutions are also subject to regulation. At the same time as the target was expanded, the requirement for "unlimited advertising" was newly established.

If you advertise content that violates the medical advertising guidelines, the public health center in your jurisdiction will issue an order to stop or correct the advertisement, and if it is judged to be extremely malicious, criminal accusation will be filed .

In addition, false advertisements may result in criminal penalties from the beginning without being ordered to stop or correct the advertisement . In that case, you may be fined up to 300,000 yen or imprisoned for up to 6 months . In the worst case, you may be punished, such as revoking permission to open a medical institution .

The medical advertising guidelines are a very annoying rule from the advertising side who wants to appeal the goodness of medical institutions in a big way. However, it plays an important role in protecting the health and life of the recipient.

In order to protect the interests of patients and avoid the risk of being punished, please be sure to understand and comply with the medical advertising guidelines when conducting medical advertising.

Law firm with Dr. Makai Narumi

Marunouchi Soleil Law Office Marunouchi Soleil Law Office
Contact: 03-5224-3801

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