ASCI bans 176 ads including Dabur Vatika, Saregama Carvaan, HUL Dove Go Body Lotion, Hyundai Creta, Oral-B, Good Knight Power, Dettol Cool in July 2018
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned as many as 176 advertisements out of 216 complaints it received across segments during July 2018. During the month, ASCI said it received 295 complaints, out of which 265 were about misleading claims.
 
Of the 176 advertisements wherein the complaints were upheld, 111 belonged to the education sector, 25 to the food & beverages category, 21 to the healthcare sector, four to personal care and 15 were from the 'others' category, the self-regulatory industry body said in a statement. 
 
The banned ads are from prominent companies like Dabur India Ltd (Dabur Vatika Shampoo), Saregama India Ltd (Saregama Carvaan), Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Dove Go Body Lotion), Hyundai Motors India Ltd (Hyundai Creta), Gillette India Ltd (Oral-B Toothbrush), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Good Knight Power Active+), Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare India Pvt Ltd (Dettol Cool), among others, they range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media.  
 
According to ASCI, the most common reason for upholding complaints was superlative claims by advertisers especially for education sector advertisements. "The claims were unsubstantiated and misleading that they provide 100% placement or they are No. 1. The other reasons comprised making claims which were misleading by ambiguity or by implication, exploiting consumers' lack of knowledge and likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. This was followed by violations of the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act (DMR Act) and the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Rules and advertisements which contravened various ASCI guidelines," it added.
 
Amongst various advertisements that were examined, the CCC observed some advertisements that were in violation of ASCI guidelines for celebrities in advertising. It says, "An eminent sports celebrity was found to endorse an artificial sweetener that claimed to control blood sugar. Another celebrity was found to endorse a shampoo brand promising to make your hair problem free. Furthermore, a renowned celebrity was found to endorse a water purifier wherein the claims made in the advertisement were not substantiated." 
 
"ASCI's suo moto surveillance of print and TV advertisements picks a large number of potentially misleading advertisements. The CCC finds that a major proportion of these advertisements belong to the education sector. Educational institutions which offer programs of education and training play a vital role in building educational capital in India. Parents, too, make great sacrifices to enable their children to get the right education. Therefore, high incidence of misleading advertisements in this sector is worrisome and requires urgent attention from the ministry of human resources development (HRD)," says Shweta Purandare, secretary general of ASCI.
 
Complaints against following advertisements were upheld - 
 
EDUCATION: - Total of 111 advertisements complained against
 
Direct Complaints (Ten advertisements)
Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (101 advertisements)
 
FOOD AND BEVERAGES: - Total of 25 advertisements complained against
 
Direct Complaints (14 advertisements)
Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (11 advertisements)
 
HEALTHCARE: - Total of 21 advertisements complained against
 
Direct Complaints (Three advertisements)
Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (18 advertisements)
 
PERSONAL CARE: - Total of Four advertisements complained against
 
Direct Complaints (Two advertisements)
Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (Two advertisement)
 
OTHERS: - Total of 15 advertisements complained against
 
Direct Complaints (10 advertisements)
Suo Moto Surveillance by ASCI (Five advertisements)
 
DIRECT COMPLAINTS
 
The advertisements given below were complained against by the general public or by industry members. Of the 103 advertisements complained against, for 24 cases the advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertiser on receiving ASCI communication. For the remaining 79 advertisements, complaints against 39 advertisements were upheld by the CCC of which  14 were of the Food & Beverages category, 10 belonged to the Education category, three advertisements belonged to Healthcare sector, two to Personal care sector,  and 10 belonged to the ‘Others’ category. 
 
Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld as the advertisements were in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising:
 
1. Blue Mount Appliances Pvt Ltd. (Blue Mount RO):  The advertisement features celebrity Karishma Kapoor. The claim, “India’s 1st Alkaline RO Water Purifier with LED Display”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other RO water purifiers in India, to prove that their product is India’s first with the feature of LED display or through third party validation. Additionally, the claims, “Adds essential minerals”, and “Enhances oxygen level of purified water”, were not substantiated with technical test reports for the claimed benefits of the product.  The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. Karisma Kapoor endorsing such claims in the advertisement was in violation of ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.  
 
2. Dabur India Limited (Dabur Vatika Shampoo): In the advertisement, a few women were seen asking actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for a solution to their hair problems to which she replies that they should use the all new Dabur Vatika Shampoo with the ‘satt poshan’ (seven benefits) of ingredients such as henna, shikakai and amla which makes hair problem free and healthy.  The advertiser did not furnish any evidence of the consent of the celebrity herself for the product efficacy claims referred in the advertisement. This contravened the Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising. Claim, “Isme hai heena, shikakai, amla jaise sattposhan ki natural Shakti”, “Jo banaye baalon ko problem free”, was inadequately substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The visual depiction of celebrity’s hair was misleading by omission of a reference in the TVC that optimum level of lighting, make up etc is done to the artist to achieve the look.
 
Two advertisements violated Chapter III (Unsafe Practices) of ASCI Code:
 
1. Indospirit Beverages Pvt Ltd (Bro Code): The pack advertisement’s claim, “Are you game? Because this drink really is.  Kickstart the fireworks, sink in the electricity and you’re up for a ride.  A bullet start to a night of debauchery”, refers to an unsafe practice and manifests a disregard for safety, as it is promoting drinkers to indulge in unethical behaviour.  
 
2. Saregama India Ltd (Saregama Carvaan): This advertisement shows an animation film wherein a father and daughter are seen on a scooter and both are not wearing helmets. The visual of “a rider and a pillion rider on a two wheeler without helmets”, shows violation of traffic rules and is an unsafe and a dangerous
practice, which manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence.                                                         .                                                                                                   
 
FOOD AND BEVERAGES:- 
 
In several cases it was observed that the advertisements exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
1. Danone: For the advertisement’s claims, "With the highest Protein", "Contains 50% more protein compared to other beverages in the market" the advertiser has compared their product with leading volume market share Health/Milk Food Drinks brands as defined by a Kantar study. It was observed that the Health/Milk Food Drinks category includes drinks that have higher protein than Protinex as per the A C Nielsen retail audit, which were excluded in the comparison made by the advertiser. The claim was misleading by ambiguity and implication. Even though the claim "Leading hydrolysed protein supplement" is applicable to Protinex Original variant, the advertisement suggests that it is applicable to all the variants as displayed in the advertisement. This claim is misleading by implication and omission.
 
2. Shiv Agro Food Products (Shudh Amras): The advertisement’s claims, “Certified by National Laboratory” and “Pure natural Mango juice without essence or preservatives”, were not substantiated, and are misleading.
 
3. Hem’s Food Pvt Ltd. (Hem’s Millet Soupy Noodles): The advertisement’s claims, “100% Natural”, “High Quality Natural Ingredients”, “Natural Food”, “Natural ingredients” were inadequately substantiated for the product as a whole. The over-emphasis on “Natural” positioning is misleading, exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  The claim - “A Chemical Free Product” is misleading by ambiguity and implication. 
 
4. Hem’s  Food Pvt. Ltd (Hem’s Noodles - Natural Taste Mix- Tomato Onion): The advertisement’s claims, “100% Natural”, “Home grown and natural prepared mix”, “Healthy and natural taste”, “100% Natural ingredients”, and “Chemical free”, were not substantiated with supporting data and are misleading by exaggeration and implication when seen in the context of their comparison with other marketed noodle brands.  
 
5. S.K.B. Industries (Aunty Supari): The advertisement’s claim, “With Saffron”, was not substantiated with supporting data showing presence of saffron in the product, and is misleading. The claim, “No. 1 Sweet Supari”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other sweet supari brands, to prove that it is in leadership position; the claim is misleading by exaggeration.
 
6. Kelzai Secrets Limited (Kelzai Volcanic Water): The advertisement’s claim, “Enriched to provide you with a rich source of silica, magnesium, calcium and, potassium” was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.  In the claim, “Naturally alkaline, Kelzai with a pH level of 7.09-7.9 serves as a natural oxidant” - the claim of “naturally” and “Kelzai with a pH level of 7.09-7.9 serves as a natural oxidant” were inadequately substantiated and are misleading. The claim, “Detoxifying the body and improving skin tone, energy levels and overall health to keep you young" was not substantiated.  These claims are misleading and exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
7. Kelzai Secrets Limited (Kelzai Volcanic Water):   The advertisement’s claim, “India’s first bottled water encased in a biodegradable PET bottle” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and implication.
 
8. Zenith Nutrition (Zenith Resveratrol Plus Gymnema): The advertisement’s claims, “Resveratrol Plus promotes healthy blood sugar levels.”, “Encourages antioxidant activity within the body.” and “ZENITH Nutrition’s Resveratrol Plus contains beneficial amounts of chromium, gymnema sylvestre extract and resveratrol” were not substantiated. The claims are misleading by ambiguity and implication and exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge.
 
9. Zenith Nutrition (Hawthorn Extract): The advertisement’s claims, “Zenith Nutrition Hawthorn Extract provides powerful antioxidants flavonoids, including standardized Vitexin that, along with other components in Hawthorn, have been found to support healthy blood flow and healthy blood pressure within the healthy range”, were not substantiated with evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading by exaggeration.  These claims exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
10. Zenith Nutrition (Ginkgo Biloba Bilberry Lutien): The advertisement’s claims, “Ginkgo biloba shows most promise as a circulatory aid, helping to increase blood flow to the brain which may be useful for memory loss, vertigo, tinnitus, disorientation, headaches, and depression, especially in the elderly and the elderly not responding to antidepressant drugs”, and “Increasing amounts of evidence show that gingko may indeed help to relieve cerebral insufficiency, which is defined as a decrease in blood supply to the brain”, were inadequately substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading by exaggeration.  These claims exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
11. Zenith Nutrition (Zenith Astazanthin): The advertisement’s claims, “Clinical studies have demonstrated that Astaxanthin may promote a healthy inflammatory response, supports skin during exposure to sunlight and supports joint and eye health”, were inadequately substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading by exaggeration. Claims “Zenith Nutrition Astaxanthin is a natural antioxidant carotenoid derived from the fermentation of the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis”, and “Other Ingredients: Vegetarian capsules, Dicalcium Phosphate”, were not substantiated with supporting data, were misleading and exploited consumers’ lack of knowledge which would  lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
12. Zenith Nutrition (Chaste Berry): The advertisement’s claim, “Zenith Nutrition Chaste Berry is a traditional herbal remedy derived from the fruit of Vitex agnus castus, a shrub which grows in temperate regions of Asia”, was not substantiated with supporting data showing presence of these ingredients in the product and is  misleading.  The claim, “Promotes Female Balance- PMS support, Supports Hormonal Balance”, was inadequately substantiated with clinical evidence of product efficacy, and is misleading by exaggeration.  
 
13. Zenith Nutrition (Memory Fab Capsules): The advertisement’s claim, “Powerful combination of Ginkgo, Brahmi & Mandukaparni” was not substantiated with supporting data showing presence of these ingredients in the product, and is misleading. The claims, “Improves blood circulation in the brain promotes better concentration and memory”, and “Brahmi and Mandukarparni known for brain boosting benefits since ancient times”, were inadequately substantiated with scientific rationale, or clinical evidence of product efficacy, and are misleading by exaggeration. Promotion of this food product with therapeutic claims, exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
EDUCATION:-
 
The CCC found claims in the advertisements by five advertisers that were not substantiated and were in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions. 
 
1. Institute of Engineering & Management: The advertisement’s claims, “All Pass out Students Of All Batches Got one to two job offers on average" and "All eligible students got at least one job offer", were inadequately substantiated and are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
2. Law Prep Tutorial: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest number of selections”, was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The claim, “India’s Best CLAT Coaching”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and similar CLAT coaching institutes to prove that it is better than the rest or through an independent third party validation. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication.
 
3. Oak Ridge International School: The advertisement’s claim, “VIT or MIT, Pilani or Princeton, Symbiosis or Stanford, 1242 Oakridgers have made it to the World’s Best Universities”, was inadequately substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
4. Sri Chaitanaya Educational Institutions: In the advertisement, the claim “Bogi Suraj Krishna was a student of Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy or Sri Narayana school” was not substantiated.
 
5. Dwisha International: The advertisement’s claims, “100% satisfaction on immigration Work”, “80% of approval Ratio”, and “Coaching class with Score Guarantee”, related to the immigration and visa services provided by the advertiser, were not substantiated with verifiable supporting data and are misleading by exaggeration.  
 
Complaints against advertisements of five educational institutes listed below were UPHELD mainly because of unsubstantiated claims AND/OR misleading claims that they provide 100% placement/ placement assistance AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields.
 
Florence College Of Nursing, Acharya Institutes–Acharya School of Management, IMS Business School - Institute of Management Study, NERIM- (North Eastern Regional Institute of Management) and Hi-Tech Institute of Technology 
 
Healthcare:-
 
The CCC found claims of three advertisements in healthcare products or services to be either misleading or false or not adequately / scientifically substantiated; hence in violation of the ASCI Code. Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld.
 
1. Bhargava Phyto Lab Pvt Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “Clinically Proven for acute and chronic Cervical Spondylitis and Cervical Spondylosis” was misleading by ambiguity and omission of the use of the product as an adjunct therapy. The claim, “Doctor’s Most Trusted Brand for Cervical Spondylitis” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and implication.  Furthermore, the claim, “India’s No. 1 Selling Brand for Neck and Shoulder Pain” was not substantiated with verifiable comparative market share data (by volume / value) of the advertiser’s product and other similar brands in the same category. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
 
2. Medlife International Private Limited (Medlife Copper Bottle): The advertisement’s claims, “With ayurvedic benefits”, “Helps in maintaining cardiovascular health and regulates the working of thyroid glands” and “Has anti- inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which relieve aches caused due to inflamed joints and kill germs” were not substantiated with direct references from classical ayurvedic texts or with evidence for the claimed benefits of the product.  The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 
 
3. Altos Enterprises Ltd. (Oregel Diab): The advertisement’s claim, (in Bengali),  “Hridajantrer cria thik kare puro sharire nabojouban, jibonshakti ebong dirghayoo pradan kare”, as translated in English , “Correcting heart function provides early youthfulness, vitality and longevity to the whole body” was not substantiated with any technical data, scientific rationale specific to the product formula or clinical evidence of product efficacy. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
PERSONAL CARE:-
 
1. Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Dove Go Body Lotion): The advertisement’s claim in the visual, “Get cool and fresh skin this summer with fresh cucumber and cool menthol” in the Facebook post video was inadequately substantiated. The corresponding claim in the Facebook post “Get cool and fresh skin with Dove Go Fresh Body lotion - With the goodness of cucumber, menthol and green tea to give you a boost of freshness” is misleading by ambiguity and implication.
 
OTHERS:-
 
1. Natraj Atta Maker: The advertisement’s claim, “Their Atta Maker is the only Sarva Shreshtha (The Best)”, was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s atta maker  and other atta maker brands to prove that their brand is the “only best” than the others, or through an independent  third party validation. Claim, “India’s No.1 Domestic Flourmill”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s atta maker brand and other atta maker brands to prove that they are in leadership position; the source for this claim was not indicated in the advertisement. The claim, “More than 8 Lac Satisfied Customers”, was not substantiated with supporting evidence of customers who were satisfied with the product, or with any independent audit or verification certificate. The claims are misleading by exaggeration.  
 
2. Hyundai Motors India Limited (Hyundai Creta): In the advertisement, Hyundai advertised about Creta’s face lift model. The advertisement also mentioned that special offer for select corporates, Doctors, CAs and SMEs. The said claim/ offer was not substantiated and was misleading by ambiguity and implication.  
 
3. Gillette India Ltd (Oral- B Toothbrush): The advertisement’s claim, (in Bengali) “Briselse neemer upadan ache” (“Bristles infused with neem extract”) was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and implication that Oral-B toothbrush users will benefit as the bristles contain neem extract and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
4. Kalyan Group: The advertisement claimed- 25 fully automatic Benz car for its customers by lucky draw by Actress Manju Varier in Television commercial. The TVC did not provide the details where the Terms & Conditions are accessible to consumers for details of the offer. The hold duration and the language of the disclaimer in the TVC was also not as per ASCI Guidelines for Disclaimers.
 
5. Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Good Knight Power Active+): The advertisement’s claim, “With Good Knight Power Activ+ extra power molecules, the mosquitoes won't just leave the house, they'll leave the world” (“duniya chhod ke bhaagega”), was not substantiated and was misleading by implication. The claim, "Sabse Shaktishaali" was a superlative claim which was not substantiated.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration, exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  The claim – “Product has 50% more powerful molecules” was considered to be a misrepresentation of facts. 
 
6. Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (Good Knight Powerchip): The advertisement’s claim “Good Knight Powerchip with the power of 100 coils” (“Sau coils ke power wala”) was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by ambiguity and implication and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers
 
7. Sunny’s world: The advertisement’s claim, “Hamari sirf ek hi sharth hai, Shaadi sirf sunny world mein honi chahiye” has an implied reference to the practice of “Dowry”, which is in violation of The Dowry Prohibition Act.
 
8. IncNut Digital Pvt Ltd (Stylecraze): The advertisement’s claim, “World’s largest website for women”, was inadequately substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
SUO MOTO Surveillance by ASCI
 
The advertisements mentioned below were picked through ASCI’s Suo Moto surveillance of Print and TV media via the National Advertisement Monitoring Services (NAMS) project. Out of total 192 advertisements, for 55 cases the advertisers withdrew the advertisements as soon as they received communication from ASCI and the rest 137 advertisements were considered to be misleading. Of the total of 137 advertisements, 101 belonged to the Education category, 18 advertisements belonged to the Healthcare category, 11 belonged to the Food & Beverages category, two to Personal care category, and five belonged to the ‘Others’ category.
 
The below advertisement violated ASCI’s Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising
 
1. Mankind Pharma Ltd (Kaloree 1): In the advertisement, sports personality Sania Mirza was seen endorsing the product. The terminology, “For controlling your blood sugar” in the advertisement was incorrect since the word “control” also implies bringing down an already high value – which is not the role of a sugar substitutes. The claim exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The visual of the celebrity when seen in conjunction with the claim is likely to mislead consumers regarding the product benefit. This contravened the ASCI Guidelines for Celebrities in Advertising.
 
EDUCATION:-
 
The CCC found claims in the advertisements by 36 advertisers that were not substantiated and thus, in violation of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Educational Institutions. Several claims were misleading by exaggeration.
 
1. Chandigarh University:  The advertisement’s claim, “University with best placements”, was not substantiated with any market survey data or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and similar institutes, to prove that it is better than the other universities in providing placements to their students, or through an independent third party validation.
 
The claim “Scholarship worth 10 crores.” was not substantiated with any evidence of such scholarships being provided or the financial provision made by the advertiser for the same. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
2. Chandigarh University:  The advertisement’s claim, “Limca Book of Records for highest number of companies.” was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
3. Gitam University – Gitam Institute of Management: The advertisement’s claim, “Category 1 University” and its presentation with the prominent use of the word “University” was false and misleading by omission. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 
 
4. Career Point: The advertisement’s claim, “India's Most Trusted Institute”, was not substantiated with any market survey data, or any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, or through third party validation.  
 
5. Sri Sai Coaching Centre: The advertisement’s claim, “No. 1 Coaching Centre who generated 12000 teachers”, was not substantiated with   any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, or through third party validation.  .
 
6. Yuwam Education Pvt Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “Kota's only reliable institute, in providing bank clerical jobs, railway jobs” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes or through third party validation.  
 
7. Abhigyan Sarokar:  The advertisement’s claim, “Only Institute of Rajasthan- which has given highest elections in the past years”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in Rajasthan, to prove that only the advertiser’s institute has given highest selections or through an independent third party validation.                                                        .
 
8. Avinashilingam institute for Home Science & Hr ED: The advertisement’s claim, “100% quality placement assistance” is misleading by implication and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
9. Made Easy: The advertisement’s claim, “India's Best Institute for IES, GATE & PSUs”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.                                                   
 
10. My Class Teacher: The advertisement’s claim, “India's No.1 Online Learning for IIT-JEE (M&A), NEET, AIIMS, KVPY & NTSE”, was not substantiated with any third party validation or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that it is in leadership position in providing learning courses through their online services.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
11. S K Educations Pvt Ltd (Bachpan Play School): The advertisement’s claim, “India Ka Favourite Play School” was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. 
 
12. Lathi Classes Nainavati: The advertisement’s claim, “Rajasthan's Best is now with India's Best”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration.
 
13. Adelante Education: The advertisement’s claim, “No.1 Company of digital marketing training and placement”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement.
 
14. Balaji Institute: The advertisement’s claims, “The only credible institute for Government jobs”, “Highest selection rate in India”, were not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, to prove that they are the only institute in providing Government jobs or providing highest selection rate in India, or through third party validation. The claim, “India's No. 1 faculty”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in India to prove that they have the best faculty in India. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
15. Biology Trunk Coaching Institute:  The advertisement’s claim, “Kanpur's first Institution which gives selections within one year of preparation”, was not substantiated with any supporting evidence or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, to prove that it is the first in Kanpur in providing admission for medical course within a year or through third party validation. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
16. Bodhayan Coaching:  The advertisement’s claim, “Highest selections giving Institute”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.   
 
17. Budania Education Group (Budania IAS Academy): The advertisement’s claim, “State's largest institute”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that they are larger than the rest or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration.
 
18. Saksham Education Institute: The advertisement’s claim, “The most reliable team giving the highest selection in Rajasthan”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in Rajasthan for giving highest selection of students or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
19. Siksha O Anusandhan University: The advertisement’s claim, “No.1 Deemed University in the Eastern region, quoting NIRF Ranking – 2017”, was not substantiated. NIRF does not permit selective use of the NIRF ranking data to claim leadership position in sub-groups.  Reference to the word “University” in the claim, “One University, multiple identities”, was considered to be misleading by ambiguity and implication since the institute does not have “University status” and it is only a “Deemed to be university”.  The claims are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
20. Spurthy Institutions: The advertisement’s claim, “Placement assurance”, was not substantiated with supporting data and is misleading by implication and exaggeration. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
21. College of Banking Studies (CBS): The advertisement’s claim, “Bank Clerk Selection Guaranteed”, was not substantiated with authentic supporting data such as detailed list of students who have been placed through their Institute in the banking sector, contact details of students for verification, enrolment forms and appointment letters received by the students, nor any independent audit or verification certificate. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The claim, “No Selection – Full Fee Refund”, was not substantiated with any supporting evidence of the students who were not selected for jobs in banking sectors, were refunded with full paid fees, and is misleading by exaggeration.
 
22. Khelgaon Public School: The advertisement’s claim, “Engineering and medical field”, was not supported with verifiable data.  The claim, “To assure your selection in engineering and medical”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
23. Aravali Institute: The advertisement’s claim, “Highest selection in the whole district”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
24. Arjun Classes: The advertisement’s claim, “Provide guaranteed batch”, was not substantiated with verifiable supporting data. The claim, “If not selected finally, then full fees will be refunded with written guarantee”, was not substantiated with any supporting evidence of the non-selected students who were refunded with full paid fees.  The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
25. Budania Education Group (Budania IAS Academy): The advertisement’s claim, “State's largest institute”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that they are larger than the rest or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration.
 
26. BSC Academy:  The advertisement’s claim, “Oldest and most trusted Institute”, was not substantiated with any supporting comparative data, market survey data or through third party validation. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
27. Shivani Public School: The advertisement’s claim, “No.1 School in Co-Curricular Activities”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, or through third party validation. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers. The source for the claim was not indicated in the advertisement.  
 
28. Turning Point Defence Academy: The advertisement’s claim, “The only institution of Rajasthan that has given highest selections in Defence Sector”, was not substantiated with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in Rajasthan, to prove that the advertiser’s institute being the only one to have given highest selections of students in the defence sector or through an independent third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
29. Millennium Software Solutions Pvt Ltd: The advertisement’s claim, “A.P’s No.1 Software Training Centre”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) than the rest in A.P or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
30. N. M. Classes: The advertisement’s claim, “Only institute which has given highest selections in the past for Teachers Recruitment (science and Mathematics)”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
31. NIBF-Institute of Banking and Finance: The advertisement’s claim, “India's most trusted brand in BFSI Training”, was not substantiated with any market survey data or any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes, for being trusted in providing training in the area of Banking and Financial Services or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
32. Quest Coaching: The advertisement’s claim, “Odisha's No.1 Online Banking Institute”, was not substantiated with any third party validation or with verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) in Odisha than the rest in providing banking courses through their online services.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  The claim, “More than 3027 students selected in various Bank and other Govt. Sectors since-2007”, was not substantiated with supporting data for selection of students on year on year basis since 2007 or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration.
 
33. Budania Education Group – Budania IAS Academy: The advertisement’s claim, “Largest Coaching Network of Rajasthan” was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes in Rajasthan to prove that their coaching network is larger than the rest, or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
34. Centurion Academy: The advertisement’s claim, “North India's No.1 Academy for Defence Services”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) than the rest in North India in providing training / courses in  defence services, or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
35. Chaitanya Junior College: The advertisement’s claim, “District No.1 in CEC, HEC MEC groups”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s institute and other similar institutes to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1) than the rest or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
36. Dr. Mehta’s Classes: The advertisement’s claim, “Institute that gives highest selections” is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
Complaints against advertisements of 65 educational institutes listed below are UPHELD mainly because of unsubstantiated claims AND/OR misleading claims that they provide 100% placement/ placement assistance AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields.
 
Vinay’s IAS Academy, Brilliant Tutorials, Dr. Virendra Swarup Group of Institutions, V Rahul Coaching, Sri Akshara Coaching (Nellore), Turning Point/Srushti Pu Clg, Bhanwar Rathore Design Studio, Panache Academy, Vijetha Coaching Centre, Global Institute - Global Computer Training Academy, Matsya Health Care Skills Learn Academy, Heer Computer Education, Kaplon Education Pvt Ltd. (American Academy of Aviation & Hotel Management), Sri Chaitanya Degree College, Shekhars Institute, Zee Interactive Learning System  (Kidzee Pre School), Indian Safety Solution-VC, Alpha Entrance Academy, Amirta International Institute of Hotel Management, AMITY University, Blooming Buds Foundation School, Rakshak Defence Academy, S.S.S College, St. Soldier Group Institutions, Subhas Bose Institute of Hotel Management, United Group of Institutions United College of Engineering and research, Universal Group of Institutions, Vasan Institute of Opthalmology and Research, Vignan Vidyalayam Junior College, Vellore Institute of Technology- VIT, Global Council of Education Research and Training, Ayurillam Ayurveda Hospital abd School of Nursing International, Hindustan Air Academy, IITC (India International Trade Center), Cavalier India, Knowledge Academy, Ishwar Kripa Career Inst (JPR), APNET Computer Education, ASEL English Learning Centre, Basara Institute, Siddhartha Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, HT Learning Centers Pvt Ltd (Study Mate), Swamy Abedhanandha Polytechnic College, NRS Brilliant Junior & Medical Academy, Nucleus Chemistry Classes, Zabeel International Institute of Management and Technology, G-Tec Education Computer, Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Institute of Technology & Management, Millennium Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Munimji Training & Placement Academy, National Council for Fire & Safety Engineering, Neev Classes, Global Institute of Technical Design, Cellsius AIIMS/ NEET, Computer Foundation, Cosmo Career Institute, Defence World, Delta Defence Academy, Gandhi Institute of Hotel Management, Doon Group of Colleges, FCI Institute of Hotel Management, Futurecareer Solutions  Pvt. Ltd, Maharaja Indrajeet Singh College of Nursing and Giani Zail Singh Campus College of Engineering and Technology- Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University.
 
HEALTHCARE:
 
The following advertisements were considered to be, prima facie, in violation of The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act and are being referred to the Ministry of Ayush 
 
 
The following advertisement was considered to be, prima facie, in violation of The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act / The Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, and is being referred to the Ministry of Health 
 
 
The CCC found claims of 11 advertisements in healthcare products or services to be either misleading or false or not adequately / scientifically substantiated; hence in violation of the ASCI Code. In several cases it was observed that the advertisements exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave disappointment in the minds of consumers. Complaints against the following advertisements were upheld.
 
1. Sriram Clinic: The advertisement’s claim, “Electro homeopathic successfully treat arthritis, diabetes, asthma, piles, childlessness, hair fall, stones”, was not substantiated with any scientific rationale or evidence of treatment efficacy and is misleading by exaggeration. Specific to the claims implying cure for asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and childlessness, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
 
2. Royal Lips Lotion: The advertisement’s claim, “Remove blackness of lips permanently in just seven days through lotion”, was not substantiated with product efficacy data and the claim regarding permanency of action is misleading by exaggeration. Efficacy being depicted via images of before and after the use of the product was also misleading by exaggeration.
 
3. Super Thyroid Capsule: The advertisement’s claim, “Get rid of thyroid permanently in just 15 days”, was not substantiated with any scientific rationale or evidence of product efficacy. The claim regarding permanency of effect is misleading by exaggeration and exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
4. Dr Alagappans Kidney Care Centre:  The advertisement’s claims, “Solution for Kidney Failure in Siddha medicine”, and “Several infected patients are getting cured by getting treatment from our herbal medicine treatment”, were not substantiated with scientific rationale or supporting evidence of treatment efficacy. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  Specific to the claims implying cure for kidney failure, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
 
5. Dr Care Homeopathy: The advertisement’s claim, “The actual reason for the cause of problem will be identified and treated from the grass root thus helping in getting rid of infertility problem”, was not substantiated with clinical evidence. Specific to the claims implying cure for infertility, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
 
6. Taj Dawakhana: The advertisement’s claim, “Successful treatment of venereal diseases”, was not substantiated with supporting clinical evidence. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  Specific to the claim related to the treatment of venereal diseases, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
 
7. Artreya Ayur Panchkarm Clinic: The advertisement’s claims, “Permanent treatment of headache” and “Quick freedom from your oldest Migraine pain”, were not substantiated with any scientific rationale or evidence of treatment efficacy. The claims are misleading by exaggeration, exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
8. Sagar Dispensary: The advertisement’s claim, “With their successful treatment, lakhs of disappointed patients have got new life”, was not substantiated with supporting evidence of the patients suffering from sexual diseases who were successfully treated by the advertiser’s hospital or through third party validation. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  Specific to the claims implying successful treatment for sexual diseases, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
 
9. MDJ Agro Fibre Pvt Ltd (Payasa High Fibre Energya): The advertisement’s claim, 2x more Protein” was required to be qualified to mention the basis of comparison. The claim – “Diabetic Friendly” was found to be misleading in the absence of mention of serving instructions on the pack or in the advertisement as rice cannot be eaten by diabetics in excess. The claims – “Helps in weight loss” and “Helps Reduce Cholesterol” exploited consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.                                                                                                                                                                    .
 
10. Scala Skin & Hair Transplant: The advertisement’s claim, “Bald Head Best Solution”, was not adequately substantiated with supporting data. The claim was misleading by exaggeration and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
11. Akshar Clinic:  The advertisement’s claim, “First time in world”, was not substantiated with any comparative data of the advertiser’s clinic and other similar clinics worldwide for claiming to be the first in the world for the claimed treatment. The claim, “Get riddance from thyroid permanently” was not substantiated with scientific evidence.  The claim, “With money back guarantee”, was not substantiated with any supporting evidence of the patients who were not benefitted from the treatment, were refunded the full amount.   The claims are misleading by gross exaggeration and exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
FOOD & BEVERAGE:-
 
1. Kaleesuwari Refinery Private Limited: In the advertisement’s claims, “India s first cooking oil to be enriched with vitamin D3 from plant source”, “India’s only edible oil fortified with vegan vitamin D3” and “Healthy Heart”, no data was submitted to indicate that Vitamin D3 coming from vegetarian source, in particular, has FSSAI’s approval. For the claims of “Healthy Heart” and “Good Immunity”, it was observed that as per the fortification guidelines issued by FSSAI, claims based on presence of Vitamin D can only be to “Support strong bones”.  These claims were not substantiated and are misleading.                                                          .
 
2. Kaleesuwari Refinery Pvt Ltd  (Gold Winner Vita D3):The advertisement’s claim, "Goldwinner Vita D3 is the first edible oil to come fortified with Vitamin D 3 as per  FSSAI  standard of  fortification" is false and misleading by ambiguity and implication.
 
3. Cargill India Pvt Ltd (Leonardo Just Lite Olive Oil): The advertisement’s claim, “67% less usage”, was inadequately substantiated. Attributing 67% reduction of oil consumption in the advertisement was misleading by ambiguity and implication. The said claim read in conjunction with the disclaimer, “Based on sensory evaluation result found to be at par on select recipes and oils under standard lab conditions” contravened Chapter I.4 of the ASCI Code and of ASCI Guidelines on Disclaimers.
 
4. Tirumala Milk Products Pvt Ltd (President Butter): The advertisement’s claim, “France's No.1 Butter”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other butter brands in France, to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1), or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration.
 
5. Eveready Industries India Ltd (Eveready Tez Tea Premium): The advertisement’s claim, “India's largest tea manufacturer”, was inadequately substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and exaggeration.
 
6. A-One Tea Company: The advertisement’s claim, “Hyderabad's No.1 since 1977”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s organization and other manufacturers of tea products in Hyderabad to prove that it is in leadership position (No.1), or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration.                                                                                                                           .
7. Dharwad Mishra Pedha & Food Processing Industry(Big Mishra Pedha) :  The advertisement’s claims, “South India's Biggest Sweet Mart”, was not substantiated with any market survey data, or with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s sweet mart and other similar sweet marts in South India to prove that it is the biggest, or through third party validation.  The claim is misleading by exaggeration and implication.
 
8. Rising Sun Sales Corporation (Jinwar Ragi Malt): The advertisement’s claims, “Reduce cholesterol”, “Reduce stroke” and “Control blood pressure”, were inadequately substantiated. The claims are misleading by exaggeration, exploit consumers’ lack of knowledge and are likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
9. Palash (Savoury Meera Powder) Udyog Gold Chuddaz: The advertisement’s claim, (in Odia) as translated in English, “Makes memory sharper”, was not substantiated. The claim is misleading by exaggeration, exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to result in widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.  
 
10. Shyam Oils - Sona Sikka Refined Groundnut Oil: In the advertisement’s claim, improper use of FSSAI logo was misleading the consumers that the product has been tested / approved / endorsed by FSSAI and was also in violation of the FSSAI advisory.                                                                             . 
 
PERSONAL CARE:-
 
1. Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare India P. Ltd (Dettol Cool): The advertisement’s claim,  “Issi liye aapko chahiye strong protection”, “Dettol Cool gives 100% better protection”,  is misleading by ambiguity and implication that Dettol Cool bar is better than ordinary soaps in providing protection from skin infections and that it has day long prophylactic effect. The claim exploits consumers’ lack of knowledge and is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
2. Azafran Innovacian Ltd (Azafran D’fend SPF 50+ Crème): The advertisement’s claim, “SPF 50+”, was not substantiated with evidence of the claimed SPF values. The claim is misleading by exaggeration and likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
OTHERS:-
 
1. Dream11 Gaming Pvt Ltd (Dream11.com): The advertisement’s claim, “India’s Biggest Sports Game”, was misleading by omission to mention the category (Fantasy Sports) in which they are the biggest.  The claim was also not qualified to mention the source and date of research.                                                     .
 
2. Munna Agarbatti Company (Munna Agarbatti Range): The advertisement’s claim, India’s No.1 Natural Rajni Gandha Agarbatti”, was not substantiated with any verifiable comparative data of the advertiser’s product and other agarbatti brands or through third party validation. The claim was misleading by exaggeration.
 
3. S K Mfg. Co. Ltd (Godrej NXW AC): The advertisement’s claim, 25% more power saving than other 5 star inverter ACs” was not substantiated and is misleading by ambiguity and implication.                     .  
 
4. KCM Appliances Pvt Ltd – Impex Dual Inverter AC: The advertisement’s claims, “50% more energy saving”, “40% more effective cooling” and “30% less maintenance”, were not substantiated. The claims are misleading by exaggeration and are likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.   
 
5. Rajdhani Cables (Rajdhani Wires & Cables): The advertisement’s claim, “Saves up to 30% electricity”, was not substantiated and is misleading by exaggeration and implication that the product outperforms other wires & cables. The claim is likely to lead to grave or widespread disappointment in the minds of consumers.
 
About The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)
 
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), established in 1985, is committed to the cause of self- regulation in advertising ensuring the protection of the interest of consumers. ASCI seeks to ensure that advertisements conform to its Code for Self-Regulation, which requires advertisements to be legal, decent, honest and truthful and not hazardous or harmful while observing fairness in competition. ASCI looks into complaints across ALL MEDIA such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, SMS, Emailers, Internet / web-site, product packaging, brochures, promotional material and point of sale material etc. ASCI’s role has been acclaimed by various Government bodies including The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of AYUSH as well as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The association with these Government bodies is to co-regulate and curb misleading and objectionable advertisements in the respective sectors. In January 2017, the Supreme Court of India in its judgement has also affirmed and recognized the self-regulatory mechanism as an effective pre-emptive step to statutory provisions in the sphere of advertising content regulation for TV and Radio in India. ASCI is a part of the Executive Committee of International Council on Ad Self-Regulation (ICAS). Among several awards bestowed by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), ASCI bagged two Gold Global Best Practice Awards for the Mobile App “ASCIonline” (2016) and for reducing the time taken to process complaints (2013). 
 
For further information, please contact:  
 
The Advertising Standards Council of India 
Shweta Purandare, Secretary General, ASCI 
91 22 2495 5070 / 91 9821162785 
 
Hilda Macwan
Sr. Manager - Marketing, PR and Social Media 
9665050812
 
Ketchum Sampark Public Relations Pvt Ltd 
Kiwishka Prasad |91 7506861969 
 

 

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Depreciating Rupee to Offer Respite to Pharma Sector: Report
The Indian pharmaceutical sector is expected to report higher margins for second quarter (2Q) of FY2019, largely supported by the depreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar, says a research report.
 
In the report, India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) says, "Although the pricing pressure in regulated markets, input cost inflation and increased competition continue to be the key concerns for the sector for the remaining FY2019, the Indian rupee is expected to continue weakening against the US dollar and, thus, support the top line growth of pharmaceutical companies and safeguard them from the margin pressure."
 
According to the ratings agency, with domestic pharmaceutical market growing briskly in current financial year, there would buoyant growth in revenues. However, it says, majority of pharmaceutical companies focused on the domestic market will register muted growth in 2Q FY2019 on a year-on-year basis. The growth in 2Q FY2018 was because of channel restocking after the implementation of goods and services tax. Large pharmaceutical companies are likely to report top line growth in low double digits for 2QFY19 and EBITDA margin improvement in the range of 100 basis points (bps) to 150bps.
 
"Nearly half of revenue growth in FY2019 is likely to be driven by a weaker Indian rupee," Ind-Ra says, adding, "The sudden increase in the prices of imported active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) over 4QFY2018-1QFY2019 led to a 100bps to 350bps fall in the gross profit margins of some large players. About 9% depreciation in the Indian rupee against the US dollar in 2Q FY2019 will help pharmaceutical companies in passing on input cost hikes and manage the pricing pressure. Despite continued input price inflation the net impact of the weakening Indian rupee is likely to help the sector report better margins."
 
Ind-Ra expects the Indian rupee to average 69.79 per US dollar in FY2019, a depreciation of 8.3% compared with first half's average of Rs68.57. 
 
 
Given the Indian pharmaceutical sector is a net exporter, it is naturally hedged against foreign exchange movements. However, Ind-Ra says, the depreciating Indian rupee would increase the debts of companies as they have foreign currency-denominated debts, thereby marginally increasing the sector’s net adjusted leverage from about 2.0 times in FY2018. 
 
"Although an increase in debt servicing obligations (due to the depreciating Indian rupee) and interest rates partially offset the positive impact of increased profitability, the debt servicing ability of the majority of large companies would continue to remain comfortable as they possess sizeable cash balances. With the existing rating headroom available at the current rating levels, Ind-Ra expects the credit strength of domestic pharmaceutical companies to remain intact," the ratings agency says.
 
Recently, Sun Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd have received establishment inspection reports for their three facilities under warning letters. In addition, Indian companies continued to receive increased abbreviated new drug approvals. About 150 abbreviated new drug approvals of the total 386 were approved in first half of FY2019, enabling Indian companies to expand their product portfolios. However, the increased number of abbreviated new drug approvals indicates a rise in competition.
 
"The improved compliance status of US generic market-focused pharmaceutical companies is likely to improve constant currency revenue growth in the market during second half of FY2019," Ind-Ra says. 
 
In 2018 so far, a significant increase has been seen in the first-time generic drug approvals. First-time generic approvals, which do not offer marketing exclusivity in all cases, will allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to operate in a less competitive environment. First-time generic drug launches are especially positive from the margin expansion perspective. 
 
 
Some commercially meaningful first-time generic approvals include gSensipar by Aurobindo Pharma Ltd Cipla Ltd, gSuboxone, which was launched in 2018 in the US but sales were halted owing to a pending litigation, by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, and gWelchol by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.
 
With drug manufacturing facilities gradually recommencing operations with enhanced environmental compliance, Ind-Ra says the API supply situation is likely to improve during second half of FY2019. "However, API prices are likely to settle at a higher-than-the-previous-average level. Incremental investments and additional production cycles, which drug manufacturers have to undergo to stay compliant, will increase input costs. Pharmaceutical players focused on the regulated and fixed-price tender markets will be more exposed to the input cost pressure," it added. 
 
 
 
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Amrapali affairs run by a syndicate: Forensic auditor tells SC
The Supreme Court was on Wednesday told by forensic auditors that affairs of the real estate major Amrapali group of companies were being run by a "syndicate" and that group's former Chief Financial Officer and statutory auditor were part of it.
 
"I don't have an iota of doubt that statutory auditors were very much part of the syndicate," forensic auditor Pawan Aggarwal told the bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, also pointing out that the real estate group paid Rs 2 crore income tax of its former CFO and also gave him a BMW car costing about Rs 43 lakh.
 
"It was a syndicate where CFO and statutory auditor were part of it", Aggarwal told the court.
 
Forensic auditors are checking the accounts of Amrapali group of companies on the direction of the top court.
 
Aggarwal also informed the court that every day they were stumbling on new set of companies which were used by the real estate major for channeling its transaction.
 
Telling the court that "every day we are finding news companies", Aggarwal estimated that there may be a network of 200 to 225 such companies.
 
Pointing to the gross involvement of statutory auditor Anil Mittal in these companies, Aggarwal told the court that the "relatives of statutory auditor, his wife and brother are grossly involved" in these companies. 
 
Mittal told the court that he received around Rs 50-60 crore from the group beyond his work and the money was put in these companies for routing transaction.
 
In one instance the money was put in one such company for payment to Mauritius-based J.P. Morgan for the loan taken from it, Mittal told the court.
 
He told the court that he got into it on the suggestion of former CFO Chander Wadhwa.
 
Forensic auditors also informed the court that though in pursuance to its October 26 order, Amrapali has handed them computers and two laptops, but not the password.
 
The court wanted to know if RBI rules were followed in making payments to J.P. Morgan in Mauritius.
 
Counsel for J.P. Morgan - both for Mauritius and Singapore - told the court that they would furnish all the details as there was a mismatch in the amount that Amrapali said that they have to pay to Morgan and the amount that Morgan said it had to receive.
 
The court directed Amrapalli to give the password of the computers to the forensic auditors, including information on the accounts of the companies in each computer.
 
The next hearing is on November 13.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 
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