Centre issues fresh guidelines for health & wellness celebrities, influencers


New Delhi: The consumer affairs department has rolled out a fresh set of guidelines for celebrities, influencers, and virtual influencers who endorse health and wellness products to deal with misleading advertisements, unsubstantiated claims and ensure transparency.

These new guidelines serve as an expansion to the existing “Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022″ released on June 9, 2022, and the “Endorsement Know-hows!” guide booklet launched on January 20, 2023, the ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution said.

Under the guidelines, certified medical practitioners and health experts when sharing information, promoting products or services or making any health-related claims, must disclose that they are certified health experts and medical practitioners.They must provide clear disclaimers, ensuring the audience understands that their endorsements should not be seen as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

“This disclosure or disclaimer is necessary when talking or making claims on topics such as health advantages including those derived from food items & nutraceuticals, disease prevention, treatment or cure, medical conditions, recovery methodologies or immunity boosting, etc. This disclosure or disclaimer should be displayed during endorsements, promotions, or at any instance of making health-related assertions,” the ministry said.

“General wellness and health advice like ‘Drink Water and Stay Hydrated’, ‘Exercise Regularly and Be Physically Active’, ‘Reduce Sitting and Screen Time’, ‘Get Enough Good Sleep’, ‘Drink Turmeric Milk for faster recovery’, ‘Use sunscreen daily to protect from harmful UV rays’, ‘Oiling of hair for better growth’, etc not associated with specific products or services or not targeting specific health conditions or outcomes, are exempt from these regulations,” it added.

However, it is important for these celebrities, influencers and virtual influencers presenting themselves as health experts or medical practitioners to clearly distinguish between their personal views and professional advice and to refrain from making specific health claims without substantiated facts. It is always recommended to encourage audiences to consult with healthcare professionals for seeking professional medical advice and complete information about the products or services.

The guidelines have been developed after detailed discussions with all stakeholders including health ministry, Ayush, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

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Updated: 10 Aug 2023, 04:15 PM IST

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