Amazon have had their wrists slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for their description of the decidedly dodgy book, Melanie’s Marvelous Measles.
Claims in the product description for a book called “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles” on http://www.amazon.co.uk stated “Melanie’s Marvelous Measles was written to educate children on the benefits of having measles and how you can heal from them naturally and successfully. Often today, we are being bombarded with messages from vested interests to fear all diseases in order for someone to sell some potion or vaccine, when, in fact, history shows that in industrialized countries, these diseases are quite benign and, according to natural health sources, beneficial to the body. Having raised three children vaccine-free and childhood disease-free, I have experienced many times when my children’s vaccinated peers succumb to the childhood diseases they were vaccinated against. Surprisingly, there were times when my unvaccinated children were blamed for their peers’ sickness. Something which is just not possible when they didn’t have the diseases at all. Stephanie Messenger lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and devotes her life to educating people about vaccine dangers and supporting families in their natural health choices. She has the support of many natural therapists and natural-minded doctors”.
Following a complaint, the ASA investigated three issues, all of which were upheld.
As the ASA noted, measles is a serious medical condition which can lead to severe complications or even death. Vaccination is recommended by the World Health Organisation and the NHS as an effective way of preventing measles.
Amazon pointed out that the claims were merely a reproduction of claims made on the book’s back cover. They argued that the product page was created automatically from a data feed supplied by a third-party provider and that the content fell outside advertising regulations.
They were wrong. Amazon were reminded to ensure that their marketing communications did not imply that expressions of opinion were objective claims and did not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.
If Amazon are going to persist in selling questionable products, they must take responsibility for how they describe them. Such descriptions are advertising. They could therefore be covered not just by the CAP Code, but also by relevant legislation.
A review of ‘Melanie’s Marvelous Measles’ Skepticat UK, 06/01/13
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