Govt faces calls to ban cosmetic surgery ads

The Government is to consider calls for a ban on ads for cosmetic surgery, following the scandal over faulty breast implants.

Cosmetic surgery ads: MPs and surgeons want crackdown
Cosmetic surgery ads: MPs and surgeons want crackdown

Plastic surgeons and MPs are demanding a crackdown after it emerged that tens of thousands of British women have had implants made by the French company Poly Implant Prothèse.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said the ban on promoting prescription medicines should be extended to cosmetic surgery to bring "cowboy" companies under control. Fazel Fatah, its president, said there were "many aggressive marketing gimmicks that not only trivialise surgery but endanger the patient".

In a report this summer, a cross-party Parliamentary group on body image is expected to call for curbs on ads. Jo Swinson, its Liberal Democrat chairman, said there was a growing consensus among witnesses to its inquiry that tougher ad regulations were needed for cosmetic surgery.

"Some companies are reputable. There are others who prey on vulnerable people and sell them a dream that may well not be realised," she said.

However, the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service opposes a ban. Sally Taber, its director, admitted ads had reached "an inappopriate level" but said: "Advertising should be honest and ethical in everybody's interests so the patient is aware of what is available."

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has ordered a wide-ranging review of the industry. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, will be questioned on 7 February by the Commons Health Select Committee, which is considering its own inquiry.


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