iconimg Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times
London, April 14, 2014
Britain’s advertising watchdog has banned a controversial online advertisement for an India-manufactured drug that promises to help people pass strict drink-driving rules even after consuming alcohol over the legal limit. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld complaints that challenged claims made in the advertisement for Alcopal tablets that they “guarantee to improve impairments caused by consuming alcohol. Enjoy your night out without the fear of being spiked or ending up in a drunken stupor”.

The advert added: “Alcopal’s clever little ingredient prevents alcohol being absorbed through the stomach and into the bloodstream; it also gives some protection to the liver and kidneys”.

The tablets, sold online by a Birmingham-based company, cost 9.99 pounds plus 3 pounds shipping for a pack. The tablets were still being advertised after the ASA said in its ruling earlier this week that “The ad must not appear again in its present form”.

An ASA spokeswoman told HT: “We give advertisers a grace period to make the changes in line with our rulings, but if they do not make changes after that then we have various sanctions at our disposal in order to get compliance”. 

The ASA said in its ruling that the claims made in the advert breached advertising codes and European Union regulations, and thus should not appear again in its present form. The drug is reportedly banned in the United States.

There was a furore when the drug manufactured in India went on sale in 2012. Kevin Clinton, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “It’s dangerous and stupid and may encourage people to drink and drive in the belief they can get away with it.”