MPs accuse ASA of abandoning public over surgery claims

By Our Parliamentary correspondent, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 23 July 1999 12:00AM

The Government plans to crack down on misleading ads for cosmetic surgery after MPs launched a strong attack on the Advertising Standards Authority for failing to protect the public.

The Government plans to crack down on misleading ads for cosmetic

surgery after MPs launched a strong attack on the Advertising Standards

Authority for failing to protect the public.



The health secretary, Frank Dobson, is expected to back proposals from

the Commons select committee on health demanding that ads for cosmetic

operations carry health warnings, saying that such surgery carries a

risk.



In a report published on Wednesday, the MPs said the ASA was ’failing to

protect the public against misleading advertisements’.



The MPs admitted the authority faced a ’formidable task’ in policing 30

million press ads and three billion mailings and brochures each

year.



’Nevertheless, when advertisements against which complaints have been

upheld continue to reappear, we believe the ASA is abandoning its task,’

they said.



The all-party committee said that, because of the ’apparent impotence’

of the ASA, Dobson and the industry secretary, Stephen Byers, should

draw up legislation to deal with misleading ads for cosmetic

surgery.



Matti Alderson, chief executive of the ASA, said: ’Private cosmetic

surgery clinics are largely unregulated, have not wanted to be

regulated, and many of the problems associated with the sector concern

clinical procedures which are beyond the ASA’s powers to control.’



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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